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EU Live Export ‘Failure’ Welcomed

Government urged to retain protection for horses or face public outcry

Viva! 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.

The 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 trade.

In 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.

Viva! 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 Council’s 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.”




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