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DOSSIER: Export of live animals

Export of live animals from EU to non-EU countries.

New Publication

Key Topics: Success stories in Poland; Overseas meat from torturous production originating from Argentina; Animal rescue at the last moment. (German version only)
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Horsemeat from torturous production.

Special Edition

Key Topic: Stolen horsemeat from Argentina. (German version only)
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Stolen Goods (only available in German)

27.11.2014 Discussion about horsemeat imports with EU Members of Parliament

Sabrina Gurtner, project manager TSB|AWF, talks to EU parliamentarians about animal welfare violations at the horsemeat production overseas.


At the invitation of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, we give a speech about horsemeat imports from overseas into the EU. 26 MEPs (Member of the European Parliament), 15 parliamentary assistants and 19 guests attend this meeting. Michael Scannell, director of the FVO (Food and Veterinary Office of the EU) is also present. He confirms that transport conditions in Mexico are totally unacceptable and that US horses arrive dead or non-ambulatory at the Mexican slaughter plants. He announces that the EU Commission, following some very difficult negotiations with the Mexican authorities, will soon take a decision regarding imports of horsemeat from Mexico but also from Canada into the EU.

3.9.2014 - Good news from our partner organisation Eyes on Animals: COOP NL stopped importing horsemeat from torturous production

Coop supermarket was reacting quickly to the concerns about horse welfare during transport and slaughter in the American continent. They stopped right away buying it from these countries but still wanted horse meat in their supermarket. They looked into Poland, Ireland and France but in the end found the option in Holland to be the best- nearby supplier. We saw their horse meat in their shops last week and they also changed their label, indicating that the source is "western Europe".

1.8.2014 Brussels: GAIA files a charge against the horsemeat import company Equinox of dealing in stolen goods

In December 2013, the Tierschutzbund Zürich reported the Swiss importer GVFI, who bought his horsemeat at the slaughterhouse Lamar in Argentina, on the suspicion of dealing in stolen goods. A comprehensive on-site investigation had shown that this EU approved slaughterhouse does not only blatantly violate EU animal welfare standards, but also systematically slaughter stolen horses. Our Belgian partner organisation GAIA has now also filed a lawsuit against the Belgian import company Equinox for dealing in stolen goods. Equinox supplies the Belgian retailers Carrefour, Aldi and Cora with horsemeat from the slaughterhouse Lamar. Supermarkets in Switzerland completely stopped selling horsemeat from Argentina in 2013.<xml></xml>

Friday 4th July 2014: Meeting with EU Commisssion/Cabinet Commissioner Borg - Stop horsemeat imports from torturous production - next step is done.

From left to right: V.l.n.r.:Sabrina Gurtner, Project Manager TSB|AWF, Michel Vandenbosch, GAIA, Sonja Meadows, AA USA, Reineke Hameleers, Eurogroup, York Ditfurth, President TSB|AWF.

We meet in Brussels with the EU Commission in the Cabinet of Commissioner Borg. The director of the Animal Welfare Unit of DG SANCO (Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs) also attends this meeting. Therewith, we have presented our investigation at the highest EU level. Our criticism of horsemeat imports from overseas has been received attentively. A follow-up date for further exchange of information is planned for the autumn. We were accompanied by Sonja Meadows, president of Animals’ Angels USA (with whom we had carried out the investigations in the USA and Canada), Reineke Hameleers, director of the Eurogroup for Animals, and Michel Vandenbosch, president of GAIA. We sincerely thank the Eurogroup for Animals and GAIA for their great support.
Not on the picture, but part of the coalition against horsemeat imports from torturous production are Eyes on Animals (NL) and L214 (F).

18.6.2014 – Brussels: TSB and AWF become members of the Eurogroup for Animals

York Ditfurth, TSB|AWF President during the AGM of the Eurogroup for Animals.

The core themes of the animal welfare work of the AWF|TSB are, in the near future, going to flow into the working groups of the Eurogroup for Animals. In the Eurogroup for Animals, animal welfare organisations from many EU countries but also Switzerland work on important, transnational issues. The results of their work flow into the work of the EU commission. AWF|TSB are mainly going to work as experts in the thematic working groups treating the issues of animal transport, equine welfare in the EU, import of horsemeat into the EU and the trade with pets. We are looking forward to the collaboration in this international network for animal welfare issues.

6.6.2014 Success: MIGROS Switzerland stops horsemeat imports from Canada

Since 2012 the TSB Zürich has been documenting the production conditions of horsemeat in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay. After Volg, Lidl and Coop, MIGROS now also has stopped the import of horsemeat from torturous production and has terminated the contract with the Canadian slaughterhouse Bouvry Exports. The TSB gives thanks to these retailers for not hiding behind spurious arguments as others do, but for having acted in favour of the welfare of the animals. The TSB calls on ALDI, SPAR and DENNER to also definitely stop selling horsemeat from overseas, where it is produced under extremely cruel conditions.

22.5.2014 - Police training near the Hungarian/Romanian border

Levente and Lesley from EonA/AWF gave a training on the European transport legislation to 4 highway police officers supervising traffic near Hungarian/Romanian border, where many livestock trucks pass by.

20.5.2014 - Press release: Canadian Parliament defeats food safety bill

Fraudulent labelling: Such pictures have nothing to do with reality. Photo: Importer of the brand ALBERTA is the Swiss company Skin Packing SA.

On May 14th, the Canadian Parliament defeated Bill C-571, which would have improved traceability and food safety standards in the horsemeat industry. This is a victory of the horsemeat industry over the interests of animal welfare and consumer organisations. As in Canada there is no market for horsemeat, which is mainly exported to the EU and Switzerland, the politicians won’t have to face protests of consumers. Unlike the cattle industry, where food production is its primary purpose, slaughter horses are principally a by-product from the equine sporting industry. For this reason, the risk of drug residues in horsemeat is particularly high. Bill C-571 required that only horses may be slaughtered for human consumption that have been raised primarily for human consumption and have got an equine passport and a complete lifetime medical record, which is mandatory in the EU and Switzerland. As a consequence, the number of horses sent to slaughter would have decreased substantially. 
To the press release of the TSB (only in German) …
To the press release of MP Alex Atamanenko …

19.5.2014 - Speech about transport and slaughterhouses at Ankara University

Good news: Dec 2013 our EonA/AWF team gave a lecture on animal-welfare issues around transport and slaughter to approx 100 veterinarian students at Istanbul University, and now we have been invited to do the same in October 2014 at Ankara Veterinarian Faculty! Great opportunity to educate the upcoming generation of Turkish large-animal veterinarians on how to help farm animals.

3.5.2014 – Slaughterhouse Lamar loses the SGS certification for animal welfare

On the 26th of March 2014, the TSB Zürich published a press release in which the animal welfare organisation criticized the certification practices for horsemeat. Several online and print media reported about this issue in April. The certification company SGS in Geneva, which has been criticised by the TSB, now announces that they have revoked the certification for animal welfare of the Argentinean slaughterhouse Lamar. Numerous import companies and retailers in Switzerland and abroad have up to now relied on this certification. The TSB and its Argentinean partner organisations have been documenting serious animal welfare violations at Lamar for years.
To the media report… (only in German)

7.5.2014 - Today in Brussels: EU Conference "EQUINE EXPERT MEETING"

Horses are uniquely versatile animals who overlap and extend outside laws governing companion and agricultural animals as they can play a variety of roles during their life time (elite athlete, pet, draught animal, food source).  As a result, there is wide variation between Member States in how horses are perceived in law, and in how they are regulated -- and how effectively. This poses challenges when horses are frequently transported and traded across borders, and form a triple risk relating to animal welfare, animal health and public health.
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24.4.2014 – Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reports: Jumbo supermarket stops dealing with one of its importers of horsemeat

As a reaction to the Dutch TV show TROS Radar on the 24th of March, the Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo sent inspectors to Argentina and Uruguay in order to examine the accusations of TSB|AWF that the horsemeat is produced under cruel conditions. The result of the audit confirms the findings of our investigations in these countries and Jumbo immediately stops the import of horsemeat from the slaughterhouse Lamar in Argentina. One week after the TV show, the supermarkets Deen and Coop also decided to no longer import horsemeat from South America.
Summary of the article....

23.4.2014 – Media reports regarding the criticism from the TSB|AWF against certification practices

Horsemeat imports from torturous production
Once again, we were able to stop the import of horsemeat from torturous production. Since 2012, more than 300 media reports have commented on our investigation. Retailers and import companies reflexively stopped the import, stating they would audit the conditions on site by an independent auditing firm. Just in time for the start of the grill season, everything was found to be in order and ALDI, DENNER, SPAR and others resumed selling horsemeat from overseas. Only LIDL and VOLG consistently abstain from selling horsemeat. COOP imports horsemeat from France and MIGROS tries to establish their own, controllable production line in Canada. The TSB Zürich criticises the certification practices as consumer fraud, particularly those of the SGS, Geneva. A glaring example are the certificates issued by the SGS for the Argentinean slaughterhouse Lamar, where even stolen horses are slaughtered.
Media reports hereto… (only in German, French, Dutch)

17.4.2014 - TSB | AWF Dossier 2014 about import of "Horse Meat" on EU agenda

31.10.2013 Border USA-Mexico, a transporter from Ruben Brito pens stopped by TSB|AWF and Animals Angels USA

Eurogroup for Animals / EU Commission: "Welfare organisations have flagged for a long time that there are significant shortcomings on equine welfare in Europe and when the 2013 horse meat scandal hit the EU, it was just one of many signs that insufficient regulation governs equines. Eurogroup for Animals together with the European Commission are in the process of looking into equine welfare issues with the aim of offering a better future for Europe's equines specifically looking into breeding, transport, trade and slaughter".
To clarify: The EU formulates improvements for their jurisdictions. Of this the requirements for EU certification of slaughterhouses and transport in third countries are derived.

14.4.2014 Complain - Letter to EU Commissioner Borg

We now have further clear evidence that EU cattle are sent to Gaza.  An Israeli Freedom of Information requeston transports of animals from Israel to Gaza in September-October 2013 shows that in these two months cattletransported from Israel to Gaza included 1701 from Romania, 807 from Hungary and 307 from Lithuania. These two months are around the time of the Eid festival; it was during this festival that the dreadful footage that we sent to you was shot.It is disturbing to find that Australia has responded to clear evidence of cruelty by suspending the trade while the Commission continues to allow animals to be exported to Israel despite clear evidence that some are then being sent to Gaza where they will very probably be slaughtered in an utterly inhumane manner. We urge the Commission to follow Australia’s lead and suspend the export of live animals to Gaza (either directly or via Israel).


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