Food chain must act to increase traceability to improve animal welfare and consumer safety
Posted on 13/02/2013
Eurogroup for Animals is extremely alarmed by the current situation regarding the discovery of horse meat in food products purporting to be made with beef and its consequences for animal welfare.
This discovery raises major concerns for both consumer safety and animal welfare as the lack of transparency within the food processing sector from farmers to supermarkets prevents us from knowing where the animals involved were raised, transported and slaughtered. We therefore cannot guarantee their welfare and ensure that they are respected and treated as sentient beings.
Food producers and European legislators must take their responsibilities seriously and act to ensure that all animals destined for the food chain are treated with respect, their welfare protected and that clear records are kept ensuring that all relevant legislation has been respected and that all animals can be traced and checked.
“The European Commission has to act now to ensure that all existing animal welfare legislation is enforced in every EU member state and that any meat or live animals imported from third countries meet the same standard. The current situation where horses and millions of other animals are transported extremely long distances often in terrible conditions every year must stop in order to improve animal welfare and traceability,” commented Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.
“Consumers have a right to know where the products they buy originate from and that they meet high animal welfare standards. Retailers must be much more transparent and accountable and show that they respect animal welfare and consumer safety,” she concluded.
This horse meat scandal clearly demonstrates that some producers are unable to efficiently apply correct procedures to produce and trace food products. Thus Eurogroup reasonably wonders whether business operators will be able to adopt and control practices during transport and in abattoirs which protect the welfare of animals.