The headlines are screaming about the discovery of supermarket products containing horse and potentially donkey meat. Residents of the UK and Ireland are shocked, disgusted and angry that they have been eating horse instead of < insert name of farm animal here > and the police are now involved in tracing how the horse meat entered our food system.
Although what has happened is both appalling and wrong I struggle to feel any sympathy for people who have little or no regard of where their food originates and how the animals killed are treated prior to and during slaughter. What do they expect? As I write, I am listening to a conversation between work colleagues (one of them claims to be an animal lover) and feel disappointed at how uninformed they are about the factory farming industry. The only positive comment from “the animal lover” was a vow never to buy processed meats again. I suppose that is better than nothing.
In most of the articles, news bulletins and conversations I have followed not a single person has spared any thought for the horses and possibly donkeys that have been slaughtered but why should they if they never consider cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks and any other animals they enjoy eating. Is it too much to hope this wakes people up and makes them take more care in what they are buying and eating?
Reports now suggest that a Romanian abattoir is one of the main sources of the horse meat and openly butchers hundred, potentially, thousands of horses each year. Abattoirs in the UK have also been raided by police and there have been claims of pork being passed off as beef in some supermarket ready meals.
As mentioned previously here, Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) has been campaigning for more transparency in how our food is produced and quite rightly say that food should be simply, clearly and correctly labelled to enable consumers to know what they are eating and if an animal product, how the animal has been reared.
Compassion in World Farming’s CEO, Philip Lymbery says:
“Today’s scandal of horse meat in beef products is likely the tip of the iceberg. There are real and deep-rooted problems sitting below the surface of our broken food system. And the bottom line is that we clearly, all too often, just don’t know what’s in our food or how it’s produced.”
Please support the Labeling Matters campaign by clicking here.
As well as clearer food labeling we also need to closely monitor slaughterhouses to ensure animals are being treated humanely prior to being slaughtered. Barbaric treatment of animals has been exposed by undercover investigations and the RSPCA are campaigning for CCTV monitoring equipment to be installed in slaughterhouses across England, the Food Standards Agency agrees that this would be a useful tool.
The campaign has already had a degree of success with the majority of supermarkets now demanding that the abattoirs where they source their products are fitted with CCTV monitoring equipment. RSPCA wants to make it compulsory CCTV to be present in all slaughterhouses.
As it happens, the Government are due to update legislation concerning the slaughter of animals so now would be a good time to take action by clicking here.
Whilst people have been forced to think about what they eat and where it has come from why not use this perfect opportunity to spread the word about the two very worthy and on topic campaigns so please do share on Facebook and Twitter (which you will be able to do at the links provided above).