Reineke Hameleers, writing for The Brussels Times reports:
In 2020, just under 60 million horses are recorded as livestock worldwide, with just over 5 million being slaughtered every year.
The EU imports annually more than 16,000 tonnes of horse meat, primarily from Latin America and Canada, to a value of ca €70 million. Ca 44,000 tonnes of horse meat is produced annually from horses slaughtered in the EU. While the number has been decreasing in recent years, ca 167,000 horses were slaughtered in 2020.
The European Union lies at the very heart of the global horsemeat trade.
Throughout the years, Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations, together with animal welfare NGOs based in producing countries, have gathered ample evidence of the serious animal welfare and public health issues associated with the treatment of horses destined for the meat trade in third countries.
Horsemeat supply chains are rife with animal abuse and traceability issues. Despite repeated scandals, EU consumers are still left in the dark as to the origin of the horsemeat they consume. It is high time for the EU to change this.
The systematic abuse, mistreatment and neglect that NGOs have documented are abhorrent: inadequate transport conditions causing severe suffering; absence of shelter in the assembly centres; lack of veterinary care for sick animals, with many just left to die; falsified papers or non-existent veterinary treatment records; use of unskilled labourers that treat the horses roughly; appalling slaughter practises, including the slaughter of stolen horses and of mares exploited for the production of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG). See horse blooding below.
Horse blooding: Equine chorionic gonadotropin
Equine chorionic gonadotropin or eCG is an important hormone produced by the placenta of pregnant mares and extracted from the blood of these same mares. This hormone is commonly used to enhance reproduction of pigs, dairy cows, sheep, beef cows, and goats. There are currently no alternative sources of this hormone.
Uruguay, Chile and Argentina
A growth hormone made from the blood of horses kept on unregulated farms in South America is being sold to British vets and factory farmers to increase production, according to campaigners. Thousands of mares are thought to be kept in cramped conditions on “blood farms” across Uruguay, Chile and Argentina and made pregnant so that fertility hormones can be extracted from their blood and sold. Source: The Times UK, 2017 » »
“Their blood contains the hormone PMSG (Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin), which is used in Europe to stimulate and synchronise oestrus in farmed animals, such as sows or dairy cows. PMSG can also be used to induce superovulation, which results in larger litter sizes, or to induce puberty in sows,” reports the Animal Welfare Foundation.
Take note of this, also from the Animal Welfare Foundation:
The Animal Welfare Foundation reports:
When we discovered the PMSG production in the Thuringian Haflinger stud Meura at the end of 2019, the authorities gave contradictory statements: The federal government was of the opinion that blood collections from pregnant mares are to be classified as animal experiments and the state authorities are responsible for the approval.
In contrast, the Thuringian ministry (TMASGFF) took the view that the serum collection for the production of an active substance is not an animal experiment and thus not subject to approval. Because of these inconsistent legal interpretations, we commissioned a legal expert opinion. It comes to a clear conclusion: Blood collections for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals are classified as animal experiments. However, the blood collections for the production of PMSG are unlawful because animal experiments must fulfil the condition of indispensability.
According to the federal government, there are 36 synthetic alternatives to PMSG available on the market. Hence the PMSG production is not necessary, it is dispensable. Furthermore, the German guidelines for the collection of blood and blood products generally prohibit blood extractions from pregnant mares. » » Source »
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