June 29, 2007

The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) has this week released important new research highlighting the importance of full and comprehensive enforcement of the EU rules covering the welfare aspects of the long-distance transportation of horses to slaughter.

These latest findings indicate that if the legislation is enforced properly certain routes would no longer be profitable.

It is generally accepted within the EU that enforcement of the welfare legislation must be a priority, however this is the first time that it has been possible to show that lax enforcement boosts profits. The ILPH hopes that this report will galvanise all Member States to redouble their efforts to ensure that welfare transport rules are observed on every journey.

This report, commissioned by the ILPH, demonstrates that enforcement is pivotal to protecting the welfare of horses transported long distances to slaughter in Europe. It confirms that journeys are only economically viable when the EU Regulation is broken, all at the expense of the horse's welfare. The charity hopes these findings will add new impetus to the argument that the trade should be 'on the hook' rather than 'on the hoof'.

Emma Leckie, who researched and collated the report, focused on the trade in horses travelling from Spain to slaughter houses in Italy, specifically looking at the cost implications involved when European Union (EU) rules on the transport of horses were properly implemented. These include single stalling and resting horses off the vehicle with food and water for 24 hours after every 24 hours travelled, (which has been a requirement under Regulation 1/2005 since January 2007). The report concluded that when enforced, journeys of more than 24 hours made a loss and those of shorter duration saw a reduction in profit.

"This report was commissioned by the ILPH in order to increase the dossier of evidence to support our campaign for an end to the long distance transport of horses for slaughter in Europe," said Jo White, ILPH Head of Campaigns and European Affairs.

"There is considerable evidence that EU rules on journeys and rest periods are regularly flouted in many parts of Europe; we are lobbying to ensure that these rules are strictly enforced. Emma's report has shown that the trade becomes unprofitable for journeys over 24 hours and therefore strict enforcement would effectively put a stop to the totally unnecessary and inhumane journeys to slaughter that horses have to endure. This report also concludes that it is more cost effective to transport the carcases of slaughtered equines in a refrigerated vehicle than it is to transport horses live over long distances.

"This is the fourth report that Emma has produced in this series and is an excellent example of the data that the ILPH is collecting and publishing to demonstrate that the long distance transport of horses must end."

Over 10,500 horses were transported for slaughter from Spain to Italy in 2006, and this number has been increasing year on year since the mid nineties. Earlier research by Emma Leckie indicates that the total number of horses entering and moving within the EU for slaughter in 2005 was 99,087, of which 82,844 travelled long distance to Italy where the demand for horse meat is greatest.

• Emma Leckie holds an M.Sc. in Equine Business Management from the Royal Agricultural College and has worked with the ILPH for more than 7 years.

Report from Emma Leckie B.A, M.Sc of June 2007

Q.1 Please summarise the key findings of the report.

This report by Emma Leckie concluded that it would not be economically viable to transport horses intended for slaughter for more than 24 hours if the European Union(EU) rules on the transport of horses are observed with particular reference to single stalling and resting horses off the vehicle, with food and water, for 24 hours after every 24 hours of travel. For journeys of less than 24 hours the report concluded that a profit could be made from the transport of horses to slaughter but the profit was reduced.

The report also concluded that it is more cost effective to transport the carcases of slaughtered equines in a refrigerated vehicle than transport the animal, live, over long distances.

Q.2 Is single stalling and resting horses for 24 hours compulsory?

Yes, single stalling for journeys over 8 hours duration, has been obligatory in the EU under the Transport Regulations since January 2007 and 24 hour rest periods, off the vehicle, have been a requirement for over ten years for horses transported within the EU.

These requirements do not apply outside the EU.

Q.3 So why make such a fuss about existing EU rules?

Because there is so much evidence that EU rules on journeys and rest periods are being regularly flouted in many parts of the EU.

Q.4 Why was this report commissioned?

The ILPH has commissioned a number of reports in order to develop a dossier of evidence with which to campaign for an end to the long distance transport of horses for slaughter in Europe. This report focuses upon the economics of the slaughter trade, providing vital information about issues relating to enforcement.

Q.5 Have there been any other reports produced by Emma Leckie?

This is the fourth report that Emma has produced in this series for the ILPH. Information relating to the report that she produced in 2006 and which covered the movement of equines and their meat into and within the EU can be found on the ILPH website.

Q.6 What is the purpose of this report?

To demonstrate that it makes economic sense that equines should not be transported long distances for slaughter and should be slaughtered as near as possible to their premises of origin in their source country.

Q.7 How many horses are transported every year from Spain to Italy for slaughter?

10,535 were transported in 2006, and the number has been increasing year on year since the mid 1990s.

Q.8 How many equines are being transported every year into and within the EU for slaughter?

The ILPH showed in research work carried out in 2006 that the total number of horses entering and moving within the EU for slaughter in 2005 was 99,087, of which 82,844 entered Italy. Details of this work can be found on the ILPH website.

Q.9 Are all these horses transported to Spain by road or are some transported by sea?

The majority are transported by road but some are moved by sea.

Q.10 Do the same findings apply to the transport of horses from Eastern Europe to Italy for slaughter?

There is a direct read across to all long distance journeys of horses by road for slaughter. The information on which the report's conclusions are based was obtained from transporters who operate in many areas of the EU and is applicable to all movements by road vehicle.

Q.11 What are the EU rules for the long distance transport of live horses for slaughter?

The rules are very complex and for details of the recently updated system you should seek guidance from the Defra website which contains some very useful and helpful information. It can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/transport.

Q.12 What is the ILPH doing about the long distance transport of horses for slaughter?

One of our major objectives is to bring an end to the long distance transport of horses for slaughter. It is an issue that the ILPH has been committed to from its outset and there have been numerous successes.

In our continuing campaign the ILPH aims to change policy and attitudes in order to improve the welfare conditions for horses destined for slaughter. We respond to consultations regarding welfare and transport legislation and undertake research to provide evidence to strengthen our arguments for improvements to legislation and stricter enforcement. Finally we raise public awareness and work with our supporters to impact on policy makers.

Those people who are interested in becoming a campaigns supporter should contact Campaigns Officer, Emma Seel (emmas@ilph.org)

Q.13 Why can't this horrendous trade be banned?

All trade rules are made in Brussels and under the Free Trade Treaties it would be virtually impossible to ban the long distance transport of all horses for slaughter within the EU. However the UK has a derogation in place at the present time that has been in place for over 70 years that effectively stops export.

But what the ILPH can and are doing is to lob

by at every opportunity within the EU to make the awful conditions under which equines are transported less arduous although it is impossible to eliminate all the abuse and horror that occurs unless the journey does not take place at all. What we hope to do is to increase the costs of transport to a point where it is no longer financially viable to transport horses long distance for slaughter.

Q.14 Can the EU transport rules be made any stricter?

Yes, but only through the slow and formal Brussels procedures.

The next review of the EU Transport Rules in the relevant Regulation (1/2005) must take place by 2011 and the ILPH is already building a scientific case to underpin our objective to end the trade by making the rules far tighter. It is one of the most important objectives of the ILPH and it is why we were founded in 1927.

Q.15 What can be done to improve enforcement of current rules?

We are at one with many other organisations including the Commission of the EU in seeking to improve enforcement at every possible level. This is one of the prime objectives of the ILPH and we are lobbying extensively both in the UK and in Brussels and other EU capitals to ensure that our voice is heard by those who have this responsibility. At the same time we are carrying out field investigations in various parts of the EU to gather up to date information that will underpin our campaign to get better enforcement, particularly on the long, arduous and totally unnecessary journeys from Eastern and Central Europe to the slaughterhouses of Italy.