This is more proof that the business of horse slaughter is corrupt and based on lies and deceit and how a even a passport or tracking system does not work because kill buyers, abattoirs and others involved, simply lie on the paperwork.
Please call your Representatives in the US Congress and the Senate and tell them WE DO NOT WANT HORSE SLAUGHTER IN THE US and to protect horses from crossing our borders for the purpose of slaughter!! Ask them to support anti-slaughter legislation including the Moran Amendment, which will be voted on as part of the upcoming Appropriations Bill.
Please be a voice for our horses! ~Declan
The horse recorded as slaughtered: Cob is found wandering the streets 11 months after official data said he was killed in abattoir
A horse recorded as being slaughtered by an Irish abattoir in March 2012 was found wandering the roads of Longford last Sunday in the latest alarming twist in the horsemeat scandal.
The discovery of the small, black and white cob known as ‘Charlie’ – 11 months after official records state he was slaughtered – offers concrete proof of the chaos that the State’s traceability system for horses is in.
Experts last night suggested that Charlie’s horse passport – which would have confirmed that he was safe to enter the food chain – could have been transferred to another, larger horse that would have been banned from doing so.
Worrying: This horse was found wandering the streets of Ireland 11 months after official records state he was slaughtered, raising fears over the state of the country's traceability system
The latest scandal comes after a week of shocking revelations as the horsemeat scandal that began in Ireland spread right across Europe.
Frozen food company Findus last night confirmed that it may take legal action against its suppliers after its beef lasagne was found to contain up to 100 per cent horsemeat. The UK Food Standards Authority has said it will carry out tests on beef served in hospitals and schools – although the authorities here said they have no such plans.
The French ministry of agriculture has also begun a criminal investigation into the origin of the lasagne horsemeat, which it believes came from Romania.
Last month, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland discovered forged documents had been used in processing some horses at a reputable abattoir in Limerick. While the documentation initially appeared genuine, the veterinary stamp had in fact been forged. The meat was intended for export to Italy.
The discovery of Charlie came as Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told TDs that he had tightened up the passport system for tracking horses.
In safe hands:Care: Animal charity worker Andrea Kelly with the scanner that identified Charlie
Under the system each horse is issued with its own passport as well as being implanted with a microchip that gives it a unique ID number. ‘A horse is not allowed into the human food chain unless it has a passport and it is microchipped and identified,’ he told the Agriculture Committee.
‘It must be identified within six months of birth, or within the year of birth. We are enforcing those rules now. I am not saying everything was perfect in the past.’
Mr Coveney added that he would act if he was told that the passport system was in disarray – but only if he was given clear evidence.
‘If anyone has evidence to suggest that something continues to be seriously wrong with regard to the slaughtering of horses, I need to hear about it and see it. I cannot act on hearsay.’
However, when the Mail on Sunday put the case of Charlie to the Department of Agriculture, it declined to comment. A spokesman would only repeat yesterday: ‘As stated earlier in the week, the Department doesn’t comment on individual cases.’
The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has repeatedly alleged that passports are switched in order to allow undocumented horses to enter the food chain. Passing horsemeat off as beef offers unscrupulous traders a potential windfall. Horsemeat sells on average for €900 per tonne, while beef costs €3,500.
THE FOUR WAYS TO TRACE A HORSE
When the MoS told USPCA chief executive Stephen Philpott yesterday about Charlie, he said: ‘That doesn’t surprise me. The Irish passport system is corrupt. I tried talking to the Irish ministry but no-one would listen. Now they are listening, I had three meetings with Mr Coveney’s staff this week.’
Mr Philpott said passports are regularly moved around. ‘The root of the problem is they recycle the passports like washers.’
He added: ‘Charlie could have been part of a consignment of live horses being illegally shipped through the North for slaughter in England. Maybe he was too small or the horse was sold as a pet for a bit of opportune money-making by the driver.’
Charlie was rescued in a starved state by Hilary Robinson, co-founder of the animal charity Hungry Horse Outside, following an alert by gardaí in Longford town.
Two of the horses are female and pregnant but have not been microchipped so cannot be identified. The other horse, a stallion we now know to be named ‘Charlie’, did have a microchip.
To Ms Robinson’s shock when she contacted the department’s registry, an official told her that number belongs to a horse slaughtered in March 2012. The official added the horse was registered to Horse Sport Ireland, the largest passport-issuing body in the State.
Ms Robinson told the MoS: ‘There is no traceability here; this is the third horse we have found like this in the last year. And I would say 60 since 2007 when we started rescuing horses.’
When the MoS contacted Horse Sport Ireland, Norah Byrne in registration confirmed Horse No 372-1414-0493-4674 was slaughtered on March 24 in an abattoir licensed to kill horses for human consumption. This newspaper contacted the slaughterhouse’s directors but they declined to comment.
The current head of clinical pathology at the Irish Equine Centre, Desmond Leadon, said the case of Charlie supports what he found while researching a report on ‘Unwanted Horses in Ireland.’
He said: ‘Something has gone seriously wrong and someone may have manipulated the situation. What you’re saying is consistent with things that are being rumoured.’
When the registered owner of the horse, Bernadette Walsh, was contacted, she was shocked to hear of the pitiful state Charlie had been found in. But she was also very angry at the lack of regulation which allows her name to be on his records when she passed the horse on more than three years ago.
Mrs Walsh, an animal rights activist in Sligo, speculated that because Charlie is smaller than a coloured cob would usually be, his passport could have been sold on illegally. ‘If you have a book for a small horse, you can pass on that book at the marts. I would like to know whether another cob was passed off as Charlie and was slaughtered,’ she said.
While refusing to comment on the issue of Charlie, a Department spokesman said it was working on improving the passport system.
And adding to the concerns of animal welfare groups is the slow progress of introducing the Animal Health and Welfare Bill. It is hoped this will update the existing Protection of Animals Act 1911.