EU announcement could signal the end of long-distance journeys to slaughter in Europe

Journey time limit for horses being transported across EU to slaughter

Posted on 07/12/2023

EU announcement could signal the end of long-distance journeys to slaughter in Europe

  • Announcement marks major step towards World Horse Welfare’s mission to end long-distance transport to slaughter
  • Legislation will significantly reduce the suffering of around 14,500 equines transported across Europe annually

We have spent decades advocating for changes to be made to prevent the unnecessary suffering of horses on their final journey, and we are encouraged by today’s announcement that the journey time across the EU could now be limited to nine-hours.  

“This week has seemed like Christmas come early. Alongside the recent news that the UK government is moving forward with legislation to ban the export of horses to slaughter from the UK, we are now equally delighted that the European Commission have proposed a 9-hour journey limit for horses sent to slaughter, putting an end to these completely unjustifiable long journeys.

“The line has not quite been crossed yet and how any new regulation is enforced will be critical to its success, we need the support of EU member states to end this trade in horses for good. Nevertheless this announcement marks a huge step in the right direction.”

Chief Executive, Roly Owers

Every year, around 14,500 horses are packed into trucks and driven on needlessly long distances across Europe to slaughter. Some horses travel for days over thousands of miles with little chance to rest, eat or drink. These horses become exhausted, stressed, severely dehydrated and suffer unnecessarily.

Equines are among the most transported animals in the world, making journeys for sport, leisure, breeding, sale, fattening and slaughter – with some moving many times throughout their lives. Each journey poses a risk to their health and welfare, but the greatest risks arise when they are transported long distances to slaughter. This is due to a potential lack of care some animals receive when they are destined for abattoirs with less incentive for horses to be fit and well at the end of the journey.  

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