Vets call for action in new horsemeat scandal


(And where, one might ask, are those caring vets represented by the American Veterinarian Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practiioners? All we hear are pro-slaughter statements from the suits in the home office, although they have never polled the vets that do the work. From the AAEP website, “AAEP recognizes that the human consumption of horsemeat is a cultural and personal issue and does not fall within the purview of the association, whose mission is the care of the health and welfare of the horse throughout its life.” ) / February 25, 2013

Emaciated horses line up at a Mexican slaughterhouse (Keystone)

Emaciated horses line up at a Mexican slaughterhouse (Keystone)

Swiss veterinary authorities say they will take action to prevent the import of horsemeat produced under cruel conditions. The statement comes after the broadcasting of footage showing foreign horses being mistreated prior to their slaughter.

Earlier this week, a Swiss television programme showed how horses in Argentina, Mexico, Canada and the United States were being abused. Their meat eventually landed on Swiss dinner plates in the form of steak or perhaps in ready-made foods falsely labelled as “beef-flavoured”.

“The images show catastrophic conditions,” as Federal Veterinary Office director Hans Wyss told Der Sonntag, an Aarau-based Sunday newspaper. The horses, some ill or injured, were crammed into trucks and transported over long distances without being given food or water.

“Switzerland has a moral duty here,” Wyss said, noting that his office would not simply look on and do nothing.

Instead it will confront the veterinary departments of the countries in question with the video footage, which was gathered by the Zurich Animal Protection League. According to the group, horses are typically kept in unsupervised and unprotected feedlots for up to six months.

“We’ve asked importers for statements regarding their regulatory compliance with slaughterhouses,” Wyss said. All of the Swiss supermarkets are affected; most have since removed horsemeat from their shelves.

Wyss said he would also address the problem at the upcoming conference of the World Organisation for Animal Health, to be held in Paris in May.

Switzerland imports some 5,000 tons of horsemeat per year, half of it from Canada. Horsemeat has been in the news recently because of a Europe-wide scandal involving undeclared horsemeat found in frozen meals labelled as containing only beef.


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Suzanne Dunham

    I don’t understand what it wrong with people that they would want to continue to eat horsemeat when they know that the possibility of it being contaminated is very high. This is just plain nuts!!!! Even a wild animal will not eat something that’s gone bad even if they were starving. Even if they don’t care about the slaughter of horses, they should care about their own health.

    February 26, 2013
  • Thank you for the update on this fraudulent scandal within the global meat industry. People should not be trusting of this profit-driven death trade. And a HUGE thank you for pointing out that the AVMA and AAEP both are PRO-horse slaughter. Shameful.

    Horse slaughter is NEVER humane but always CRUEL, is NOT “a necessary evil,” is NOT an answer to backyard breeding or hoarding, does NOT end suffering but CREATES it unnecessarily, and is a predatory industry that thrives on greed.

    I am happy to tell you that there is an equine veterinarian organization that abhors horse slaughter and calls it what it is: a disingenuous ploy to line kill-buyers’ pockets. Please read these vet statements that decry horse slaughter:

    February 26, 2013
    • BlessUsAll

      Thanks for the reminder, Mary.

      And Morgan (comment below Mary’s), that’s an astute observation. Furthermore, if humans understood and cared for horses in a deeper way, they’d never use them in ways that “required” blinders, would they? I’m glad blinders can be removed — but it has to be by the people wearing them, when they’re good ‘n’ ready to see the light.

      February 27, 2013
  • Morgan Griffith

    Apparently AAEP, whose mission is health and welfare of the horse, has never pulled up alongside a horse transport. Nor have the been at the auctions, feedlots or the border. Here I was thinking that blinders were for horses, AAEP seems to have a nice collective set.

    February 26, 2013
  • Rita E. McKenzie

    I do sincerely hope that someone or a group of people can STOP the horse slaughter, at least in the United States. These noble animals have served us well for hundreds of years. They are and were NEVER meant to be EATEN!!!!!

    February 27, 2013
  • sherriey

    perhaps it will take the humiliation from other countries that see the videos and pix’s of how abusive the US, Mexico and Canada treat THEIR ‘horsemeat’ supply, to really wake up the foreign horsemeat eaters into banning their ‘meat’ supply and consequently putting a stop to the slaughter train! there may be a good side to all this scandal….in the end….the horses (hopefully) will come out the winners. lets hope so!

    February 27, 2013
  • Ziggy

    It is appalling how spineless these vets are. If they are not advocating for humane treatment of the very creatures they claim to love, and make money from, they are part and party to the abuse. Pure and simple.

    Remember the republican senator from TN who was a chest surgeon and whose family owned a healthcare company, Bill Frist? Every year he voted for continuing subsidies to the tobacco farmers and companies, even though his patients were dying of lung cancer.

    This organization is no better than Frist. Greed and avarice over compassion.

    March 2, 2013
  • susan carter

    Thank You Switzerland! Please do not import our horses. We must create a NO Horse Slaughter environment. If there is a market, the immoral horse killers here will fill it. Whether by sending horses to Mexico and Canada or killing them here. Please create a Horse Meat Free climate in Europe. Thank You

    July 5, 2013