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Commission delays are causing needless suffering and cruelty to horses, says MEP

March 7, 2011 2:07 PM

An unexpected delay to changes in transport regulations means horses are still suffering needless cruelty in being moved long distances for slaughter, one year after the European Parliament backed a call for action.

Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne, whose all party declaration to end the cruelty suffered by many horses going for slaughter was adopted with the support if 369 Euro MPs in the European Parliament a year ago, has joined animal welfare campaigners questioning the slow progress.

Her Written Declaration, supported by World Horse Welfare, demanded action to end the scandalous suffering endured by many horses moved in lorries and trailers for hundreds or even thousands of miles. A petition in support received 120,000 signatures from all over the European Union.

But 12 months on, campaigners from International Horse Welfare are concerned that the European Commission has not yet revised transport rules to stop needlessly long and cruel journeys.

Speaking in Brussels today, Liz Lynne said:

"My declaration was a historic step toward better welfare standards for horses in Europe and it is clear that changes in regulations to stop loopholes allowing needless cruelty and suffering need to be carried out to fulfill the will of Parliament.

"Thousands of horses are still being trucked over vast distances for days at a time, with little or no food, water or rest. They suffer from stress, dehydration, and exhaustion and some die before arrival.

"Some show signs of disease and are a risk to other horse populations. Yet many of these journeys pass slaughterhouses en route with spare capacity that could prevent this needless suffering.

"I am urging Commissioner Dalli and his staff to take action to carry out the clear will of Parliament a high priority. The Commission must take steps not only to robustly enforce the existing laws properly but also to ensure that the review of the regulation is concluded and, if necessary, changes made so welfare standards can be maintained.

"Euro MPs from all parties backed the declaration last year after seeing the evidence uncovered by charities like World Horse Welfare that despite EU rules meant to protect horses during long distance transport, the reality was many animals suffer appalling cruelty."

Over 100,000 horses are transported long distance across the continent to slaughter every year, many in inhumane conditions, causing exhaustion, dehydration, injury and death.

ENDS

Note: The text of Declaration 54/2009 can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+WDECL+P7-DCL-2009-0054+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN