Horse News

Mistreated horses in Australia ended up on Swiss plates


An Australian slaughterhouse supplying horse meat to Switzerland was found guilty of animal abuse

On Sunday the “Mise au point” programme of Swiss public broadcaster RTS showed footage external linkof horses being beaten, kicked and electrocuted at the Meramist abbatoir near Brisbane. The hidden camera footage taken last year was sent anonymously to Swiss animal welfare group Tierschutzbund Zurichexternal link.  

According to customs data, around 300 tons of horse meat was imported into Switzerland from Australia between 2018 and 2019. Sabrina Gautner of Tierschutzbund Zurich is convinced that all of the Australian horse meat passes through the Meramist abbatoir where the abuses were filmed.

“Australia’s second largest export-approved slaughterhouse doesn’t slaughter horses at the moment, so yes, it’s the only one slaughtering for Switzerland,” she told RTS, Her organisation wants Switzerland to abolish import of horsemeat from overseas.

Australian horsemeat is sourced by two distributors in Switzerland: one in Basel and the other in Clarens near Lake Geneva. The Swiss Association of Horse Meat Importers refused to respond to questions sent by RTS.

Australia slaughters around 100,000 horses a year for export. In 2019, 2,406 tons of horse meat were imported into Switzerland: 541 tons from Argentina, 446 tons from Canada, 408 tons from Spain, 270 tons from France, 182 tons from Italy, 151 tons from Uruguay, 132 tons from Australia.

6 replies »

  1. I tried to source that photo, which does indeed seem to be a horse being butchered. The article doesn’t explain how a “pure Spanish breed” horse was sustainably raised in Canada then sold into the U.S. to be served up raw in Pittsburgh, or if the horse was alive and killed immediately prior to serving it up. There’s a distinct possibility some of these are American mustangs shipped north to kill plants.

    Photo caption:
    Butcher Manuel Delgado prepares Pure Spanish Breed horse meat in Camas, Spain, on April 9, 2013. (Laura Leon / AP)

    PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh restaurant is causing a stir after serving horse meat.

    KDKA-TV reports that Cure Restaurant hosted a special dinner with Canadian chefs Monday. The Quebecois-themed fare included horse tartare.

    Horse welfare advocate Joy Braunstein says she was outraged to hear that horse was served. Braunstein says that there are no American slaughter plants that handle horses. She says that horses are given medication that is toxic to humans if ingested.
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    Cure chef and co-owner Justin Severino released a statement explaining that the meat was sourced from a sustainable horse farm in Canada. Severino says that the dish is not part of the regular menu.


    • Also forgot to add, the size of the ribs in the photo seems to show this was a small horse, perhaps even a foal or weanling, sadly. An adult horse would be much larger.


  2. Humans are going to end up eating mice the way things are going. Is nothing safe or sacred any more? I am disgusted by this. Shame on us!


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