Irish kill more than 57,000 horses to eat
SlaughterMore than 57,000 horses have been slaughtered for human consumption in licensed meat plants in Ireland since 2008, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.
Figures released by Mr Coveney in response to a written parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher show a significant year-on-year increase in the numbers of horses slaughtered in Ireland. Some 24,000, or 42 per cent, of the horses were slaughtered last year. In 2008 just 2,002 horses were slaughtered in the State’s single approved meat plant. The figure more than doubled the following year when a second plant was granted a licence to process horse meat. Currently there are two local authority-approved plants and one approved by the Department of Agriculture to slaughter horses, although the latter is not active.
All horses in Ireland are required to have a passport but the department has received complaints about horses being sent to slaughter with forged or tampered passports.
Mr Coveney said his department “has liaised with passport issuing agencies in Ireland and has developed protocols to allow abattoir operators to check the details of passports with these agencies to seek to ensure that they are valid and that only those horses eligible for slaughter are slaughtered”.
He told Mr Kelleher the department was developing a database which would collect information for passport issuing agencies. “The intention is that this database will be used at abattoirs to assist in verifying the authenticity of the passport for the equine presented and to record its date of slaughter.”