EU urged to ban Brazilian horsemeat

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Brazil slaughtered nearly 200,000 horses in 2012, say the Food and Agriculture Organisation
Brazil slaughtered nearly 200,000 horses in 2012, say the Food and Agriculture Organisation

Related tags: European union, Eu, Livestock

The EU has been urged to stop imports of Brazilian horsemeat after one body raised “serious concerns” over animal welfare abuse, following evidence that horses died while being transported to abattoirs.

An audit from the EU’s Food and Veterinary Office’s (FVO) audit of Brazil has found what it described as shocking shortcomings in the country’s production of horsemeat destined for Europe.

The report found that a high number of animals were either dead or in a “state of extreme weakness​” on arrival at slaughterhouses – a clear violation of animal welfare law that a country must adhere to if it exports meat to the EU.

Serious shortcomings

In addition to the state in which the horses were transported to abattoirs, the report found “shortcomings​” in food safety and traceability issues.

The FVO report said Brazil’s implementation of a residue monitoring plan for horses in 2014-15 could not meet EU food safety standards.

In light of this evidence, the Humane Society International has called on the EU to stop importing horsemeat from Brazil.

Consumer health risk

Once again, a Food and Veterinary Office audit has corroborated our repeated warnings that horsemeat imported from non-EU countries fails to comply with EU food safety standards,​” said Dr Joanna Swabe, EU executive director at Humane Society International. “It is time the European Commission halted the import of Brazilian horsemeat, which poses potential health risks to EU consumers and causes the suffering of horses ending up in the Brazilian slaughter pipeline.​”

In 2010, the EU passed a law requiring that horses slaughtered for export to Europe met certain standards: this included a full lifetime medical treatment history and medicinal treatment records that satisfied veterinary medicine withdrawal periods.

Related topics: Meat

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