The EU imports horse meat from Canada and this trade is problematic as NGO investigations and EU audits have revealed huge animal welfare and food safety issues. Eurogroup for Animals and Canadian Horse Coalition recommend using tools offered by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada to address and improve horse welfare in Canada.
The Global Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA in French - CETA: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in English) is a free trade treaty established between Canada on the one hand, and the 27 members of the European Union. The agreement aims to increase trade in goods and services between the two parties by 25%.
The EU is the largest consumer of horse meat, although consumption - and imports - have declined over the past decade for a variety of reasons, including the 2014 food scandal and the subsequent ban on Mexican horse meat. . Yet since 2017, imports have been on the rise and Canada's share has remained constant at around 1,350 tonnes per year.
Even if this volume is relatively low, the abuses of the welfare of the horses detected in the production chains are very problematic. These significant gaps in the sector, not only on animal welfare but also on traceability, have been highlighted by recent NGO surveys . In addition, EU legislation which imposes a six-month residence period, during which horses are not allowed to receive medication, has created many additional concerns in terms of horse welfare. During this period of residence, the animals are kept in horrendous conditions in outdoor feedlots, without any weather protection or veterinary care for six months until they can be slaughtered. As animal welfare issues related to agricultural practices fall outside the scope of EU animal welfare requirements currently imposed on imports,
we call in a letter joint the European Commission and the Canadian Minister for International Trade to maximize the possibilities offered by the CETA Regulatory Cooperation Forum (FCR) to improve the welfare of horses.
"Now has never been a better time to discuss horse welfare now that it has become a priority for the Canadian government to ban exports of live horses, mainly due to poor transport conditions ," Sinikka Crosland , President of the Canadian Defense Coalition
horses, Going in this direction would meet the expectations of EU citizens, as nine in ten Europeans believe that the EU should do more to promote animal welfare awareness around the world. A petition, which has already collected nearly 180,000 signatures, calls on the EU to suspend imports of horse meat from countries where EU food safety and animal welfare requirements are not respected.
“If horse welfare fails to be addressed, the EU should send a clear message to its trading partners that compliance with the rules is important, and suspend imports when requirements are not met. Under similar conditions, EU imports of Mexican horse meat were suspended in 2015, ” concluded Stephanie Ghislain, head of the Eurogroup's animal trade and welfare program.
Joint letter to the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development and the European Commission Trade Enforcement Officer
Briefing Stable to Fork: EU Horse Meat Imports
Petition demanding a suspension of imports of cruelly produced horse meat from overseas
The Eurogroup for Animals represents more than 80 animal welfare organizations in almost all EU Member States, UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway and Australia. Since its founding in 1980, the organization has been successful in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal welfare. The Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its members and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on animal welfare issues. The Eurogroup for Animals is a founding member of the World Animal Federation which unites the animal protection movement globally.
The Canadian Horse Coalition is a collective of individuals and national groups who have joined forces to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in Canada. In addition, the CHDC is pushing to ban the inhumane transport and export of live horses to other countries for the same purpose.