Posts Tagged ‘horsemeat’

Very thin and dirty

Whilst monitoring the French ‘rescue’ forums over here, we saw to our dismay a racehorse from the UK, Corran Ard, at risk of going for meat.
On checking his details on the Racing Post site, we discovered that his last run on the 26th of March this year, was less than a month before his arrival on the site on the 20th of April.

His most recent trainer, Tim Vaughan, was promptly contacted and a series of emails ensued between us and the trainer’s assistant Mark Gichero, who assured us he was doing what he could to find out why the horse had ended up there.

Suddenly, on the 27th of April, the horse was taken off the site as no longer available. We then received an email from Mark Gichero saying that he had been in touch with his contacts in France who had assured him the horse would be found a home via them.

In the interim, after doing more research, we found other UK ex racers on that site from the same region of the UK. We alerted the BHA to the fact, and they have passed the details to their investigations team.

Imagine then, our surprise and horror when the horse reappeared on the website on the 15th of June, now at a lower price and in imminent danger of going to the abattoir.

We decided there was no time to waste. To ensure that the horse was given every chance of a future, but also very much to highlight the fact that this cross channel trade in unwanted UK horses and ponies to French dealing/meat yards is happening, we contacted the newspapers in the UK.

They in turn contacted Mark Gichero, who was understandably horrified that the horse had resurfaced back in the same place. After some discussion, Mark asked us how he could help to get the horse out of there, and generously funded his purchase price and transport costs. Corran Ard was collected on Monday 28th of June by ERF and now has his future secured with us.

He is a beautiful, sensitive horse who was obviously shell-shocked at the immediate change in his circumstances. Going from 5* treatment in a racing yard to being on the meat trail must have been bewildering and terrifying for him.

He will take some careful rehabilitation, he has been neglected to the extent that he was still wearing his racing plates when we collected him, over three months after his last race. Luckily, the attention being lavished on him was quickly accepted as his due, and the spark is back in his eye. The physical recovery will sadly take much longer.

You can read the Newspaper story in Wales Online.

We’ll update his progress in a couple of days. But just for the moment, here he is after a bath having a pick of grass.


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It is a well known fact that the Italians like their horsemeat, so much so that they are now the largest consumer of horsemeat in Europe. To meet demand, over 200,000 horses are slaughtered in Italy each year with a high percentage being imported from mainly Poland, Romania and France. Things could all be about to change though as politicians from all parties are considering banning the  slaughter of horses for human consumption.

Francesca Martini, a minster with the Italian health ministry and a member of the ruling Right-wing coalition, has put forward the bill, arguing that the “dignity of horses should be respected”. The motion is already on the desk of the Italian parliament’s culture commission and has won considerably cross party support with opposition centre-Left MPs also backing it.

Also Backing the ban is Italy’s agriculture minister Luca Zaia who says horses should not be eaten and instead “considered just like cats and dogs”. The proposal has been warmly welcomed by the Italian federation for equine sports and animal cruelty charities who said it was “legislation that had been long overdue”.

The proposals have caused uproar in communities where horsemeat is popular who claim that eating horsemeat is part of their culture and right. There are also concerns that should the ban occur while there is still a high demand for horsemeat, that the trade will be driven underground resulting in a black market, as has happened in the Miami area of the US recently.

Let us hear your views on this topical subject…

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French report

French report

There are many assumptions made about the scale of horse production in France, particularly in the UK where individuals want to ‘rescue’ horses from the abattoir. We regularly hear ‘rescue’ sites talking about the huge numbers of horses being transported in illegal conditions to Italy – indeed we once believed these tales too and it is only with considerable research that we found out the truth.

The official 2008 figures have recently been released and they make interesting reading:


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Yesterday, World Horse Welfare submitted a dossier to the European Commission requesting laws be tightened up that govern the live transport of horses going to slaughter. (more…)

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In an effort to understand the French equine market in more detail, we have been researching the origins of horsemeat available in supermarkets within the different departments of France. Our findings so far indicate that France is a mass producer of horses for meat, but a fair proportion of those are not slaughtered here in France, but transported to Italy.

The largest import of live horses into France comes from Poland….the largest export of live horses from France goes to Italy. Horses in the UK are still being exported to the rest of Europe live via the Ireland-France route, some taking the onward 4 day trip to Italy (or 2 day if EU transport regs are ignored).


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