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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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DOSSIER: Export of live animals

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

Horsemeat from torturous production.

14.7.2015 - Poland: Veterinary Inspections on farms in Swietokrzyskie region

One of the horses that will be confiscated
AWF Team finds horses in dark barn
Neglected horses in a dark and dirty barn

On two farms in Swietokrzyskie area the conditions for the animals did not improve, even though we gave support to the farmers. Accordingly we asked the Veterinary Service of Kielce for inspections of both farms, after we had sent a detailed report about our observations. Both farms have been visited several times by the vet inspection and the farmers received a list of measures they should take in order to comply with the legislation.

At one farm the last inspection was carried out on the 10th of July, together with employees of the municipality. They found the conditions slightly improved, such as rubbish and glass removed from the floor in the barn and two of three horses in a better state of condition, with their coat cleaned from manure. One mare was still in a neglected state of condition and the thick layer of manure was not removed from the barn. The officials are preparing now a temporary confiscation of the animals and penal proceedings are in progress.

On the other farm the Veterinary Inspection in Kielce performed an inspection on the 16th of June. Due to bad conditions the animals are kept in, the Vet inspection started administrative proceedings. The farmer received a list of measures and actions he should take until the beginning of August, when the place will be inspected again.

[Translate to English:] 3.6.2015 - Gute Nachricht: Mexikanischer Schlachthof stoppt Pferdeschlachtungen

Sterbendes Pferd auf einem Schlachttransport in Mexiko: Bilder wie dieses und unsere Berichte haben dazu geführt, dass im Schlachthof Aguascalientes keine Pferde mehr geschlachtet werden.

On January 15th 2015, the EU import ban on horsemeat from Mexico came into force. Our on-the-spot investigation now shows that the plant in Aguascalientes has completely stopped the slaughter of horses, meaning that no horses are slaughtered for the Mexican market or for export to other countries either. These are very good news, since we have repeatedly documented the suffering of horses in the US export pens in Texas and during the long transports to this slaughterhouse. Prior to the import ban, the Belgian company Chevideco, one of the biggest players in the international trade of horsemeat, imported meat from the Aguascalientes plant to Europe and sold it on to the Swiss company Skin Packing among others. In February 2015, the Mexican newspaper „Página 24“ reported that the plant in Fresnillo reduced horse slaughter by 60 % and that the horse slaughter plant in Jerez would be on the verge of closure.

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To the investigation report

Scientific Advisory Council for Agricultural Policy claims radical change in animal farming

The scientific advisory council for agricultural policy (WBA) handed in this week its report “Wege zu einer gesellschaftlich akzeptierten Nutztierhaltung” (“Ways to a socially accepted animal farming”) over to federal minister Christian Schmidt (BMEL). The report was commissioned by the federal government. In view of the global economic footprint and the negative health effects of the huge meat consumption, the WBA speaks out for a more animal and environmental friendly production whilst reducing the consumption quantities at the same time.

The scientists come to an explicit conclusion: animal farming in Germany is in its present profile not sustainable. Even though the agriculture has developed into an economically successful sector, there is hardly any social acceptance for it: “If one considers the deficits in animal and environment protection and the change of the human-animal-relationship ideals, than are the present husbandry conditions of a bulk of farm animals not sustainable”, so Prof. Achim Spiller, under whose lead management the report was worked out.

The report contains the demand for a catalog of countermeasures to improve the holding conditions of farm animals the animal quick and sustainably. Amongst other things it includes a federal program animal welfare, a national label for particularly animal friendly products, more space, exercise and activity for the animals. “In many current animal husbandry systems exists a high risk of hurts, sufferings and injuries for the animals”, so Prof. Matthias Gauly, whose as well in charge of the report.

To the report (german) …

Big Castration Week in Poland

In the week commencing 02.-06.03.2015, the Tierschutzbund Zurich enabled the castration of overall 337 animals. Thereof 124 were dogs and 213 cats. Furthermore, all dogs were chipped and registered. The campaign was offered in four communes with whom we cooperate already for a long time. Thereby, the TSB finances the castration costs whereas the communes defray the chipping and the registrations of the dogs into the database. Lost dogs can in this way be assigned to their owners.
The TSB believes it is to get down to the root of the problem of the many abandoned dogs and cats. Animal owners should learn to treat their pets responsible and not let them bring offspring into the world, which than has to struggle day after day for life. Still, many pet owners in this region have reservations against castration of their animals in this region and many can just not afford it. The huge interest in this successful week of castration shows us, that we were able to reduce reservations and that the reproduction of many animals was prevented. 

European Parliament discusses suffering of pigs during CO2 stunning Commission refuses responsibility

Strasbourg 13.03.2015. European animal welfare organisations and political parties have been criticising the stunning of slaughter pigs with carbon dioxide for years. The CO2 stunning is, from the point of view of animal welfare, a “torturous stunning method, because the pigs suffer from pain and panic for up to 60 seconds”, says project manager Sabrina Gurtner, Animal Welfare Foundation. Already 10 years ago, the European Food Safety Authority EFSA asked the Member States to phase out stunning by CO2, as it is no humane method. “Now the European Parliament has for the first time addressed this topic”, declares Sabrina Gurtner pleased.

To the press release ...

15.1.2015 - Milestone: EU stops the import of horsemeat from Mexico

Last year, our animal welfare coalition presented the results of a long-term investigation into horsemeat production in North and South America to the EU Commission. A recent audit of the FVO (Food and Veterinary Office of the EU) in Mexico has now confirmed what we had documented. Beside problems regarding traceability and food safety, the FVO for the first time also highlights serious animal welfare violations. The audit report confirms our criticisms: “While EU requirements regarding Animal Welfare during transport are not applicable in third countries, the findings of this audit corroborate information received from various nongovernmental organisations and confirm the very poor conditions in which horses are transported.” As a result of the FVO audit, the EU Commission decided last December to stop horsemeat imports from Mexico. This ban is an important step forward, but it is only the first step towards stopping the import of horsemeat from torturous production. The violations against animal welfare and lack of consumer protection seen in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay are similar to the situation in Mexico. Horses are systematically abused and there are no lifelong records of medical treatments. Our animal welfare coalition calls upon the EU Commission to stop all horsemeat imports from these countries, as they do not meet EU standards.



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.

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