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Bestselling author backs campaign to end abuse of horses in Europe
8:00am Tuesday 18th September 2012 in News
Each year, 65,000 horses are driven vast distances across Europe to slaughter. Exhausted, often diseased, injured, stressed and travelling for days over thousands of kilometres: these horses are desperate for food, water and rest. World Horse Welfare is calling for the European Commission to introduce a short, maximum journey limit for these horses. Bestselling author Jilly Cooper, an avid horse lover whose novels delve into the worlds of polo, horse racing, show jumping, is backing the equine charity’s campaign which is asking members of the public to write to their MEPs before an important vote this autumn.
“World Horse Welfare is doing a wonderful thing in campaigning against the cruel long-distance transportation of horses across Europe to slaughter,” Jilly Cooper asserts. “It breaks my heart to think of the indiscriminate suffering inflicted on horses, ponies and donkeys every day. That’s why I give my whole-hearted support to World Horse Welfare’s campaign and urge other people to do so as well. Knowledge is a powerful thing and I believe when people understand the terrible abuses that are going on, they will speak out against them and eventually change must happen. So come on everyone, let’s get behind World Horse Welfare’s wonderful campaign and give them the support they need and deserve to end this terrible and unnecessary cruelty to horses.”
Horsemeat is still popular in many countries across Europe and in order to meet demand horses are often transported over vast distances. For the horses inside the lorries, packed into compartments with inadequate space in temperatures that can exceed 40 degrees centigrade, the journey is appalling. Exhausted by the struggle to maintain balance on a moving vehicle for what can be days on end, their suffering is often compounded by hauliers flouting legislation that demands that they must stop to feed, water and rest their live cargo every 24 hours. The horses often have limited if any access to water prior to, during, or after these journeys and become severely dehydrated. These long tortuous journeys are completely unnecessary because there are many licensed slaughterhouses across Europe that could take the horses earlier. World Horse Welfare wants to see a short, finite journey limit introduced, ensuring that no horses destined for slaughter or further fattening can be transported for more than 9-12 hours.
This time limit is supported by scientific evidence that shows horses are likely to suffer when travelled any longer and that transporting horses long distances across Europe to slaughter causes significant and unnecessary welfare problems. In addition to independent peer-reviewed research showing that horses suffer on journeys longer than 9-12 hours, World Horse Welfare has collected extensive field evidence to demonstrate the welfare problems on these journeys. In World Horse Welfare’s field investigations undertaken in September 2010 and February 2011 examining horses intended for slaughter, 85% of horses were found to have at least one injury. Further recent observations found that 93% of horses observed after 24 hours of transport showed clinical signs of disease, with animals affected on every shipment.
Roly Owers, chief executive at World Horse Welfare said, “We are delighted that Jilly Cooper is speaking out in support of these horses, something which many thousands of citizens across the EU have done and continue to do by joining our campaign. The long-distance transportation of horses to slaughter is the single biggest abuse of horses in Europe. It is needless and the evidence shows that it causes clear suffering. A short, finite journey limit must be introduced to stop the suffering of these horses.
“World Horse Welfare started as a charity in 1927 when our founder Ada Cole was horrified at the conditions of horses on the docks of Antwerp being transported to slaughter. It is unacceptable that, while improvements have been made thanks to the support of those who campaign with us, legislation today still does not properly protect tens of thousands of horses transported each year. Not only do these horses suffer, the trade puts the health of the whole horse population of the EU, and the livelihoods of equestrian based workers in an industry worth millions, at risk from the spread of contagious disease. It must stop and we are so grateful to Jilly and everyone who is lending their voice to this cause.”
It breaks my heart to think of the indiscriminate suffering inflicted on horses, ponies and donkeys every day.Jilly Cooper, Best selling author
World Horse Welfare asks members of the public to take an active part in this campaign today by sending a quick and simple email to their MEP. This must be done by late September before an important vote focusing on the EU Transport Regulation. Visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org pages at http://bit.ly/SbLRbD to find your local MEP.