ITALY IS AMONGST THE MAIN IMPORTERS OF ARGENTINIAN HORSE MEAT.
IHP: “EUROPE STOPS NOW THIS CLASH. IMPORTS OF HORSE MEAT FROM ARGENTINA MUST BE BANNED”
Gigantic heaps of dead horses, pits full of hungry colts whose mothers have just been slaughtered, atrocious suffering inflicted on the animals before they were cut to pieces in order to allocate their meat to the international trade, up to the plate of Italians.
A terryfing level of mistreatment and atrocity: it is the shocking content of the investigation conducted by activists of the German association Animal Welfare Foundation that will be published today thanks to a coalition of international organisations, which are asking Europe to suspend the import of horse meat produced with torture.
IHP is the Italian hub/knot of the network of European and South American associations that, under the umbrella of the European organization Eurogroup for Animals (Brussels), calls for an immediate ban on a comprehensive system focused on the suffering of horses, which fuels fraud, corruption and manipulation of European controls.
The investigations of the activists were conducted from August 2019 to October 2020: as shown by the images and videos made for this investigation (link below). In addition to the serious acts of cruelty perpetrated on animals, the impossibility of ensuring a safe traceability of the entire supply chain to protect consumers, the production of horse meat in Argentina is marked by fraud and corruption that has also seen the involvement of the Argentine health authority (SENASA) and the Police.
The survey describes an unholy constellation of mafia-like clans and families, slaughterhouses and corrupt authorities in Argentina that thwarts the European Commission’s attempts to audit the conditions under which horse meat is produced: The European Commission’s audits are announced in advance and slaughterhouses and horse traders have developed a proven handling system to mislead inspectors.
Argentina is the largest exporter of horsemeat to the EU and Switzerland, with nearly 10,000 tonnes exported per year, followed by Uruguay with around 3,500 tonnes and Canada with 1,400 tonnes. Between 2012 and 2019, the export of Argentinian horsemeat to the EU increased from 6,000 tonnes to almost 10,000 tonnes.
Italy plays a leading role in this destruction. According to Eurostat data, in 2019 Italy imported over 2,900 tons of horse meat from Argentina - second only to Holland and Belgium. With an increasing trend, the tons of horse meat exported from Argentina to Italy were 1.460 in 2014, 1.776 in 2015, 2.031 in 2016, 1.986 in 2017 and 2.500 in 2018.
"We call on the Italian Government and the European authorities to immediately stop imports of horse meat from Argentina" - says the President of IHP, Sonny Richichi -. “It is morally unacceptable for animals to suffer these atrocities before they are slaughtered and end up on people’s plates. IHP is against any kind of mistreatment and the slaughter of horses in any place and condition where it takes place. We fight for these practices to cease everywhere, but the stopping of this destruction must take place immediately".
Undercover photography in slaughterhouses shows how horses are unloaded overnight. Injured and weak animals are dragged with chains out of the trucks and left on the ground in the unloading area until slaughter. In the slaughterhouse premises, investigators discovered pits with hungry foals whose mothers had just been slaughtered. Gigantic mounds of dead horses were found in the collection centres, while corpses of dead mares were found following childbirth on the pastures of the merchants. Even in the brand-new covered pens inside the slaughterhouses horses were found seriously injured. It is there that they spend their last night before the slaughter without a straw mattress to lie on and food as would be expected.
The mistreatment of animals revealed in this documentary is terrifying. The European Commission no longer has any excuse to look the other way. Imports of horse meat from South America must be stopped now.
"It is not an impossible mission” - adds the President of IHP -. Following the investigations carried out by the network of Animal Welfare associations of which IHP is now part, Europe has suspended the import of horse meat from Mexico and Brazil: It is necessary this will be done also for Argentina and urgently".
The request to the European authorities from IHP is supported by the associations Tierschutzbund Zürich (Switzerland), Animal Welfare Foundation (Germany), Dier&recht (Netherlands), GAIA (Belgium), Welfarm (France), IHP Italian Horse Protection (Italy), Fondation Franz Weber (Argentina), CRRE Centro de Rescate y Rehabilitación Equino (Argentina), supported by the European umbrella organisation Eurogroup for Animals (Brussels).
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5 CORAZONES, the documentary about the equine slaughter and the export of horse meat in Argentina
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Slaughter of horses for human consumption in Italy, 2019: a slight reduction in numbers, but the precise figures are by no means clear
Tortured horses, meat from North and South America imported to EU, Italy included: investigation in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay (June 2019)
Tortured horses, the videos of the investigation in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay (June 2019)
Slaughter of horses for human consumption in Italy: 2018 data
Slaughter of horses for human consumption in Italy in 2017: numbers and a few worrying facts
Equine meat and bovine meat: what is the real scandal? (February 2013)
Horse meat in Italy: an investigation reveals that it contains substances dangerous to health (Dec 2011)
Investigation on horse meat entering Europe from America (Dec 2011)