Eurogroup calls for further bans on horsemeat imports as exports from Mexico cease
As a new ban on the import of horsemeat from Mexico to the EU comes into effect, Eurogroup for Animals, along with a coalition of international animal welfare organisations, today calls on the European Commission to apply similar bans elsewhere.
More than 100,000 horses are exported from the USA to Mexico each year and the biggest part of the horsemeat has until today been exported to the EU and Switzerland and the EU Commission has now to put a stop to that trade. From today on, Mexico can no longer export horsemeat to the EU this decision will have a sizeable impact on the welfare of horses in Mexico and the US.
The animal welfare coalition, led by Tierschutzbund Zürich (Switzerland), and made up of Animal Welfare Foundation (Germany), Animals’ Angels (USA), GAIA (Belgium), Eyes on Animals (Netherlands) and L214 (France), presented the results of their long-term investigations into horsemeat production in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay to the European Commission last year. This showed systematic violations against EU food safety standards, and exposed a trade which drives and is reliant upon the inhumane treatment of horses.
Commenting on the Mexican ban the Director of Eurogroup for Animals, Reineke Hameleers, said: “The ban on imports from Mexico is an important step forward, but it is only the first step towards stopping the import of horsemeat from torturous production into the EU and Switzerland and should not be seen in isolation.”
Sabrina Gurtner Project Manager at Tierschutzbund Zürich explained that following the Coalition’s investigations: “The violations against animal welfare and lack of consumer protection seen in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay are similar to the situation in Mexico. Horses are systematically abused, have no lifelong medical records, are poorly cared for, cruelly transported and slaughtered in inhumane circumstances simply because of the continuing demand for horsemeat in the EU.”
In conclusion Ms Hameleers stated: “We therefore call upon the EU Commission to stop all horsemeat imports from Canada, Argentina and Uruguay, as they do not meet EU standards. Uruguay does not even have an applicable animal welfare legislation. In Argentina, stolen horses frequently enter the horsemeat production chain and in Canada, horses are fattened in huge feedlots under appalling conditions. The reality in these countries for horses is no different than it was in the Mexican case and action is needed immediately.”