The campaign to stop the long-distance transportation of horses for slaughter has reached a critical stage with World Horse Welfare pleading for the public to pressure their MEPs.
The charity wants finite journey times introduced, better partitions and stocking density issues addressed — and, crucially, for the legislation to be enforced.
But now, the promised review has been halted.
World Horse Welfare veterinary consultant Keith Meldrum said: “The EC has stalled progress because of opposition from other parties [such as transporters] — and they have very loud voices.”
To force the EC to continue, a written declaration has been tabled by Liz Lynne MEP, Sidonia Jedrzejewska MEP and Carl Schlyter MEP.
World Horse Welfare director of campaigns Jo White said: “For the declaration to work — to force the EC to publish proposals on reviewed legislation — we need 50 per cent of the 368 MEPs in the EU parliament to sign by 21 January. We have a mountain to climb.”
Miss White urged the public to write, ring or visit their MEPs immediately.
“Public opinion really carries sway in Brussels,” she said. “The petition raised the game. People must realise what they can do.”
A template letter for people to send to their MEPs, which has been translated into a number of different languages, is available on www.worldhorse welfare.org/takeaction
“We want people to urge friends and family in Europe to write to their MEPs as we need support across every member state,” added Miss White.
World Horse Welfare was founded in 1927 to campaign against the live export of British horses for slaughter.
While this practice has all but stopped, in 2007 the charity launched the Make a Noise campaign, fighting the long-distance and often illegal transportation of the 100,000 horses that cross Europe to slaughter each year.
H&H readers acted in outrage when head of news Abigail Butcher saw at first hand last July the shocking conditions in which horses travel — and how often the rules are flouted.
See www.horseandhound.co.uk/livetrade for the report
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (5 November, ’09)