EU Live Export Failure Welcomed
urged to retain protection for horses or face public outcry
today welcomed news that the EU Agriculture Council has failed to
reach agreement on the draft Regulations on Transportation of Animals.
These proposals would have allowed transport times for live animals
to be measured in days not hours and would have removed the existing
protections which prevent British horses and ponies from being exported
and slaughtered for meat.
vegetarian campaign expressed concern that the Government had appeared
to set its face against attempting to retain this protection, even
though the EU had indicated it was willing to consider such a request.
It also warned that any weakening of the protection in the absence
of new regulations would be fiercely resisted by campaign groups
and the public, who were overwhelmingly opposed to the horse meat
initial negotiations, the UK Government called for a maximum eight-hour
journey time for all slaughter animals. Having failed to achieve
this, it then bizarrely welcomed the alternative proposal, which
would have seen journey times measured in days. Viva!, whose campaign
in Poland against live horse exports to the EU has seen numbers
drop dramatically, claims that its investigations throughout Europe
show that existing rules are consistently flouted and animal suffering
can be extreme.
campaigner Alistair Currie says: The proposals on offer were
never acceptable they were about protecting the industry,
not protecting animals. All the talk about rest periods and better
enforcement did nothing to address the fundamental problems of low
animal welfare standards, poor compliance and horrendously long
journeys. The Government was also apparently prepared to allow horses
to be exported for meat again for the first time in decades and
was prepared to try and sell this betrayal to a sceptical public
as an improvement in animal welfare. The Councils failure
to reach agreement provides an opportunity to renegotiate a set
of standards that protect all animals and offer the realistic prospect
of an end to this despicable trade.