‘Once-in-a-generation’ chance for horse welfare across Europe

Our new appeal aims to support a once-in-a-generation opportunity to stop horses suffering needlessly long journeys across Europe to slaughter.

Posted on 26/05/2022

‘Once-in-a-generation’ chance for horse welfare across Europe

The EU is in the process of reviewing its animal transport legislation for the first time in 17 years. With the topic being discussed at the highest level, we believe that this offers the best chance for change in decades. No other organisation is dedicated to advocating for horses at this level and donations to our appeal will mean that we can continue to ensure that horses have a voice at EU level.

With evidence that around 20,000 horses are still being transported long distances across Europe to slaughter each year, we recently launched a report – years in the making – with key recommendations which we believe will dramatically improve the welfare of horses being transported.

“Nearly 100 years ago our inspirational founder, Ada Cole, realised that something must be done about the suffering of horses during long journeys across Europe to slaughter. Fast-forward to 2022 and there is now an opportunity to stop this needless trade for good.  

“Our supporters have already made a huge difference by supporting our research and helping us get the voices of these horses heard at the highest level.  The number of horses being transported in this way has dropped hugely over the years – from 165,000 in 2001 to around 20,000 today – but it’s time we consign this practice to the history books. 

“These horses can travel for days over thousands of miles with little chance to rest, eat or drink. They become exhausted, stressed and severely dehydrated; many are in pain and all are suffering unnecessarily on these journeys. Every single horse transported in this way is one too many.

“Together our campaigning is a powerful tool and with your support of our appeal we can make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to change EU law and end this horrific trade once and for all.”

Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare Chief Executive

We are calling for:

  • A maximum, finite 12-hour journey limit for horses intended for slaughter.
  • Any journey over four hours being defined as a long journey.
  • Compulsory and species-specific training for anyone involved in transporting horses.
  • A review of the minimum space given to each horse.
  • Changing the definition of ‘fit or transport’ to include that the horse must arrive at their destination in a fit state.
  • For horses to have access to forage and constant drinking water for at least six hours before the start of their journey.
  • For all of these rules to be properly enforced to ensure horse welfare
  • A requirement for horses to be taken to their nearest slaughterhouse.

Time's up

Will you help stop needlessly long journeys? Donate today

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