Several European member states including Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark publicly support a change to the Transport Regulation (1/2005) which governs these long-distance journeys — but the UK has not yet given its support and World Horse Welfare believes it should whilst we still remain in the EU.
Since World Horse Welfare began in 1927, the charity has been campaigning to put a stop to the needless long-distance journeys of horses to slaughter and is asking supporters to contact Farming Minister, George Eustice, and Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Minister, Lord Gardiner, urging them to add Britain’s support to the debate and help end the practice which is still endured by more than 50,000 horses every year.
In part as a result of World Horse Welfare’s campaigning, there has already been important progress made with more horses now being transported in lorries with suitable partitions that reduce injuries and deaths – and according to official figures, the number of horses transported over long distances has dropped from 165,000 in 2001 to 54,000 in 2012, but more still needs to be done.
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers said:
“While the UK can still influence laws in Europe that affect the welfare of millions of animals including tens of thousands of horses, it should use this opportunity to live up to its values and call for changes to this outdated legislation. The rules now cause immense agony and do not reflect current scientific evidence which shows that horse health and welfare deteriorate on long journeys, especially in poor conditions.
“Now is the time for our supporters and all those who care about horses to put their emotion into action and write to our Government now while they can still make a real difference. “