Acting on findings made during a recent ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses) visit to Serbia, both the Federal and Republican authorities are cracking down on illegal horse transporters from entering the country.

Transported by truck from far afield a large number of horses (estimated in thousands per annum) are being smuggled across the unfenced and largely unpoliced forest frontier between Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.

According to the ILPH, the Serbian authorities have reacted with commendable speed, seizing illegal transports as they enter the country in an effort to tighten controls on all border infringements.

The Federal government’s “Minister of the Horse” Dr Suzana Djordjevic-Milosevic says: “We have just had a meeting with the Romanian ambassador and are about to initiate a joint expert team on issues concerning agricultural cross-border co-operation, including action to improve border controls.

“We also hope to jointly implement EU regulative controls on animal transport welfare.”

David Mountford, director of operations at the ILPH, says that they are now working closely with governments to establish border controls, policing and the setting up of watering and feeding stations.

“The Serbian authorities are very sympathetic to our cause, both Dr Suzana Djordjevic-Milosevic of the Federal government and the chief veterinary officer (CVO), Dr Milos Pavlovic, of the Republican government, an equine vet, have been very helpful and constructive during our recent visit.”

One of the outcomes of the ILPH visit is that a push involving police, military and veterinary bodies is currently taking place in Serbia along its borders with Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. This is a tough, but much needed step to prevent the transport of equines in poor condition and without the necessary papers.

“Increased border controls means vigilant veterinary inspection, reducing the spread of infectious equine diseases that are an inevitable feature of illegal traffic’, adds David Mountford. “We warmly welcome the Serbian government’s initiative in multi-national co-operation, which is the key to controlling both the legal and illegal transport in live horses for slaughter.”

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