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Parliamentary questions
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10 March 2017
Question for written answer E-001669-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Bart Staes (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Banning horsemeat on grounds of animal welfare and traceability
 Answer in writing 

It emerged from the answer to Question E-009039/2016 that ‘the Commission does not intend to ban imports of horsemeat unless there is a breach of applicable Union rules during its production’.

New investigations by the NGO TSB|AWF show serious and systematic breaches of the requirements applicable under Council Regulation 1099/2009 at EU-approved slaughterhouses in Argentina and Uruguay. These breaches include lack of emergency killing for severely injured horses and violent handling. Furthermore, there is a lack of traceability, and so horses sourced from smuggling and theft cannot be identified and it is impossible to ensure the absence of drug residues from horses previously used in racing or rodeos.

The Commission gives advance warning before it conducts audits, and so these show better compliance. The inspections by TSB|AWF were conducted unannounced and show serious and consistent non-compliance with applicable Union rules since 2010.

Will the Commission consider banning imports of horsemeat sourced from Argentina and Uruguay which are non-compliant with applicable Union rules, in light of this new evidence?

Animal welfare and traceability standards in Argentina and Uruguay are comparable to those in Mexico. What actions does the Commission intend to take when reviewing the list of approved countries for imports of horsemeat?

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