Animals’ Angels went to Europe meet with veterinarians and other animal welfare organizations to discuss the issues involved with the horse meat imports from Canada and Mexico. Animals’ Angels believes that it is of utmost importance to create more awareness among European consumers in regards to where the horses meat is coming from, the cruelty involved in this trade as well as the potential risk of drug residues. The meetings went well and we are excited about the possibility of a campaign on both sides of the Atlantic.
Additionally, the investigators looked into pricing of horse meat at butcher shops and the protection offered by the “Equine Passport”. While the ways to obtain the passport are slightly different in the member states (http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/identification/equine/ms_information_en.htm), all passports require the owner to fill in information if the horse can later be slaughtered or not. This decision can’t be changed later, even if the animal is sold. If the owner chooses that the horse can be slaughtered, all medicine ever given to the horse has to be recorded in the passport by the administering veterinarian. However, there is no guarantee that the veterinarian really does that.
Once a slaughter horse arrives at the plant, the passport is checked. According to a veterinarian, who used to work at a horse slaughter plant, he has witnessed horses arriving with a “no-slaughter” passport and all of them were rejected. A violation could carry a fine of several thousand Euros for both the plant and the shipper.
Prices for horse meat found at butcher shops were $17.80/lbs -$19.00/ lbs for the filet, $13.00/lbs-$16.00/lbs for a roast and $10.00/lbs-$13.00/lbs for horse meat sausage.