We have been hearing various reports of the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the UK. Certain British equine protection organizations (i.e. Int'l League for the Protection of Horses) have told us that either it does not exist, or at the very least it cannot be proved.
On the surface, it appears that horse advocacy groups in England are mainly concerned about the humane transportation to slaughter, including exportation for long distances. They feel this is the best they can do for horses, as they feel it would be highly improbable or virtually impossible to stop horse slaughter for human consumption in the countries where it exists.
Having failed to get the information we sought through these channels, we therefore contacted other sources for information.
Our investigator contacted Defra (UK govt’s Dept. of Agriculture) and the MHS (Meat Hygiene Service) about horse abattoirs on our behalf.
Defra said: “Licensing of slaughterhouses in the UK is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency.”
The Food Standards Agency was therefore contacted:
The FSA said: “Further to your enquiry please note that we do not release the names of slaughterhouses that handle horses, as they can be the target of animal rights campaigners. We only send these details to other government departments and enforcement agencies only. You may wish to contact the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) for further information.”
Our investigator then contacted the BMPA. They stated they require requests for the type of information we week in writing. We then wrote to the BMPA. As of this writing, BMPA have yet to respond.
In the meantime we telephoned the International League for Protection of Horses (ILPH) who very politely told us they had no information about the slaughter of horses in the UK, and did not believe it existed.
We were not convinced. On a hunch we visited the ILPH website.
On it, the ILPH state (about horses in the UK): “The research indicates that approximately 34,520 equines are disposed of annually, 52% going to knackers yards, 29% to abattoirs for export as horsemeat and 19% to hunt kennels.”
Horses are killed for their meat for feeding hunt kennel dogs.
"The slaughtered horses that shame our racing"; The Observer, by Antony Barnett; Oct. 1, 2006. http://wp.me/p6VVi-91M