EU tardy in tackling the cruel long-haul transport of slaughter horses

“The charity World Horse Welfare has again highlight concerns around the long haul transportation of horses to slaughter across Europe.”

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Horses have little to do with the British public’s upcoming vote on whether they want to remain part of the European Union, but they perhaps illustrate the frustration that millions of people have with the bureaucratic behemoth.

The vote in three weeks may well be close, with those campaigning to leave the EU raising a raft of concerns, especially around immigration and jurisdictional issues.

The bureaucracy that surrounds the EU is the stuff of legend, and it can be hard to get things done at political level. Frustratingly hard.

The campaign to end the long-haul transportation of horses to slaughter across Europe is symptomatic of precisely this kind of frustration.

The cruelty of the long-haul transport of horses has been methodically documented in Europe for years, with the British-based charity World Horse Welfare leading the charge. Its evidence is compelling.

There is widespread acceptance within the EU that these long trips are awful for horses. Yet, we are years down the track and World Horse Welfare is still having to press on with its campaign for change.

Paralysis in politics almost seems to be the norm these days. The US Congress has yet to bring the PAST Act, designed to get tough on the already illegal practice of soring within the walking horse industry, to the floor of either the House or Senate for a vote. This is despite it being one of the most widely supported bills seen in years.

It would be wrong to say that there has not been progress in Europe. The campaign has seen more of the horses being moved in trucks with suitable partitions that reduce injuries and deaths. And, according to official figures, the number of horses transported over long distances has dropped from 165,000 in 2001 to 54,000 in 2012.

But, that is still 54,000 horses forced to endure huge journeys, only to end up at an abattoir.

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
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