Limerick plant one of only five licensed to slaughter horses

IRELAND
Cross-posted from Limerick Leader

WRITTEN BY GERARD FITZGIBBONS

Irish stands in field.
What’s for supper? You are, mate. Maybe not there in Ireland, but they’re happy to kill you for your meat for Europeans to eat.

A NEWCASTLE West livestock factory is one of only five facilities in Ireland licensed to slaughter horses for meat, it has been confirmed.

The Ashgrove Meats facility in Churchtown has been slaughtering horses and exporting their meat for consumption in mainland Europe for the past three years. It is the only facility licensed to do so in Munster.

The market for horse meat has increased rapidly in the past four years, based on a surge in demand for the food in France, Belgium and Italy. In 2008, slightly over 2,000 horses were slaughtered for meat in Ireland, compared to over 12,000 in 2011.

While there is no market for horse meat in Ireland, public curiosity with the slaughter of horses has increased following the discovery of horse meat traces in frozen burgers sold in a number of supermarkets in Ireland and the UK.

In Ireland there are five facilities licensed to slaughter horses for meat – three of which are approved and supervised directly by the Department of Agriculture.

Ashgrove Meats is licensed and supervised by Limerick County Council, one of two such facilities in Ireland which fall under the auspices of a local authority, due to its medium size output.

John McCarthy, veterinary inspector with Limerick County Council, said that while horses are “not traditionally a species slaughtered in Ireland”, the process is subject to the same regulation and oversight as the slaughter of any other type of livestock.

“Obviously there is no market for the meat in Ireland, but there is on the continent, and always has been”, Mr McCarthy said, before adding that in the past 15 years “a small number of plants” such as Ashgrove have begun to concentrate on horse slaughtering as a result of a steady increase in European demand.

Horses killed at meat factories can earn anything from €100 to €500 for their owners, depending on their size and weight. The majority of horse meat produced in Ireland is exported to France, Italy and Belgium where it is eaten as cheap steaks, sausages and in other forms. Read more >>

3 thoughts on “Limerick plant one of only five licensed to slaughter horses”

  1. The only chance the US horses have is if Canada upholds the passport system of the EU. Since neither the US nor Canada uses this system it will be illegal for them to slaughter US horses or Canadian horses for human consumption for export to the EU. From the article it is strictly enforced. If this enforcement is carried out at the Canadian plants all US horses will be banned from slaughter in that country along with most of the Canadian horses as well. The only horses that could legally be slaughtered would be the ones that are being raised as slaughter animals and there seems to be a lot of them on the feed lots.

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  2. Cannot allow equine slaughter back in the U.S. With Jewell nominated for Sec of Interior, we’re not doing well as it is.

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  3. Disgusting – as it is America. We obviously don’t eat horses but we are more than willing to slaughter them for someone else to eat.

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