A horse in a slaughterhouse in Australia.
TSB / AWF
Welfarm, an association for the defense of animals, denounces the abuse suffered by horses destined for slaughter in certain countries of the world.
The association calls on French retailers to stop working with the target countries.
The Hauts-de-France region is the largest consumer in France of horse meat.
In 2019, the Welfarm association, which acts for the protection of farm animals, denounced the “true face” of horse meat consumed in Europe, particularly in France and particularly in Hauts-de-France.
Several exporting countries were targeted for the suffering inflicted on horses intended for slaughter and the association called on mass distribution players to cease their collaboration with them.
Three years later, Welfarm found that almost nothing had changed.
According to the French Horse Institute (IFCE), of the 10,466 tonnes of horse meat imported into France in 2018, 41% came from America (Uruguay 19%, Argentina 13%, Canada 9%).
These are precisely the practices observed in these countries that Welfarm denounced in 2019 and continues to denounce today.
We will not go over it in detail, but the association lists in particular "hundreds of horses are dying in the '' Fields of Horror ''" in Argentina, horses "bled and cut conscious" in Australia, the lack of food and water in Uruguay ...
About ten supermarkets visited in Hauts-de-France
Surveys and supporting videos, Welfarm therefore alerted distributors in 2019. “We did not receive a response from anyone, except for Système U. The latter also heard our arguments and undertook not to no longer listing horse meat from these countries by 2022 ”, assures Adeline Colonat, project manager at Welfarm.
In the absence of any sign from other players in the mass distribution, the association went to visit, last February, a dozen supermarkets of different brands in Hauts-de-France, the first French region to consume horse meat. .
“They all still offered horse meat from Argentina and Uruguay.
In some brands, the origin was not even mentioned or one could read “developed in France”, which does not mean anything ”, continues the project manager.
Due to lack of resources, Welfarm did not tour the artisanal horse butcher shops, estimated at 500 in France.
Of the few remaining shops near Lille,
None of them get their supplies outside Europe: “The meat from these countries, sold vacuum-packed, is of poor quality.
There are few people left who eat horse, we are not going to give them bad products, ”admits a horse butcher from Lille who prefers to remain anonymous.
"They can no longer say that they did not know"
Why does large-scale distribution insist on maintaining this niche market which, in 2019, only concerned 9.4% of French households?
"It is not logical in terms of image compared to what it can bring in financially", admits Adeline Colonat.
For the image, the exporters have invented '' Respectful life '', a kind of charter aimed at guaranteeing the well-being of horses to buyers.
“Except that it is only respected for audits with scheduled dates,” says Welfarm.
The association and the NGO AWF / TSB have gathered evidence of what they are saying, recorded in a confidential report given to mass distribution players and that
was able to consult.
"They can no longer say that they did not know," said Adeline Colonat.
Contacted about this, the E.Leclerc cooperative refused to comment.
The Auchan group has not (yet) followed up.
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