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Slaughter of sick & injured animals threaten food chain

News Section Icon Published 19/02/2008

The news that 65,000 tonnes of US beef has been recalled echoes a widespread problem across Europe of sick and injured animals slaughtered for food.

Following an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States the massive recall of beef some of which has already been eaten has sent shock waves across the world.

The problem however is also prevalent across Europe - a recent film by Compassion in World Farming, Animals' Angels and Eurogroup for Animals revealed that the EU is not doing enough to protect the health and welfare of animals in transport.

Investigators found occurrences of illegal practices like injured animals lifted by cranes or pushed by fork lift trucks, and frequent beating of exhausted animals. This shocking video called "Forbidden Journeys" shows animals too sick to move being dragged out of trucks.

Forbidden Journeys

"Forbidden Journeys" contains shocking footage of illegal animal treatment

Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming's Chief Policy Advisor, says "Over six million farm animals are transported huge distances across Europe each year. Packed into overcrowded trucks, animals often suffer terribly during these long journeys from heat, thirst and exhaustion.

"Just as in the US, European animals are being forced to the abattoir so that they can enter the human food chain. These journeys cause great suffering - and are illegal.  EU law prohibits the transport of injured animals.  Moreover, putting such animals into the human food chain raises food safety concerns as well as highlighting animal cruelty."

"The film shows cows that cannot stand up or walk having ropes or chains attached to a leg or their neck and then being dragged off the truck.  Sometimes tractors are used to shove the wretched creatures on to the truck or across the slaughterhouse yard."

The three animal welfare groups are calling on the Commission and Member States to rigorously enforce the EU legislation which prohibits the transport of ill and injured animals.


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