Horse slaughter petition urgently seeks signatures

September 4, 2008

A sad fate awaits this horse.

A drive to stop the inhumane long distance transportation of horses across Europe to slaughter is building up as World Horse Welfare (formerly the ILPH) aims for 100,000 signatures on its Make A Noise petition by next month.

The aim of 100,000 signatures - one for each horse transported on these journeys every year - is urgent. Despite more than 40,000 people already showing their support to end the cruel trade, many more signatures are still needed.

"Our Make A Noise campaign is reaching an extremely critical stage, so getting signatures is crucial," said Jo White, World Horse Welfare's Director of Campaigns and Communications.

"The petition forms a significant part of our case to end the trade as it demonstrates public abhorrence of this unnecessary practice. We have been delighted with the response we've had so far and hope to have plenty more signatures by October so that we can take them to Brussels in November where we will be handing over a dossier of evidence on the trade to the European Commission."

On a recent field trip looking at the trade between Poland and Italy, White once again saw the impact such journeys have on horse welfare. Problems included extreme exhaustion (caused by travelling without rest for 2-5 days); dehydration; disease and sever injuries. One horse was so badly injured that the World Horse Welfare team insisted it needed to be humanely destroyed rather than continue to suffer on its horrific journey.

World Horse Welfare ultimately wants to end the long distance transportation of horses to slaughter and and it to be replaced with a carcase-only trade. It is asking for finite journey limits and better welfare standards during journeys. In the short term, the charity wants vigorous enforcement of EU Regulation 1/2005 designed to protect horses during transport.

In the autumn World Horse Welfare will be travelling to Brussels to hand over a dossier of evidence to the European Commission, something the charity has been working towards for seven years. It is optimistic that the findings and recommendations will have a positive impact on European transportation laws which are set to be reviewed in 2009.

Ada Cole founded World Horse Welfare in 1927 on the campaign to end the long distance transportation of live horses to slaughter. This has had a positive impact upon the trade with some significant successes, which include reducing the number of live horses transported to slaughter across Europe from 165,000 to just under 100,000 per year. However, there is still a great deal to do to achieve the long-term objective of ending the trade and the unimaginable suffering thousands of horses go through each year.