GAIA launches TV advert against horsemeat from Argentina
From horse to plate – the harsh reality
Major Belgian TV channels are broadcasting a new GAIA advert over the next two weeks denouncing the atrocious treatment Argentinean horses are subjected to before ending up on the plates of Belgian consumers. Animal rights organisation aims to exert pressure on the supermarket chains. “They have to stop selling horsemeat from countries where it is impossible to ensure the welfare of the animals,” remarked Michel Vandenbosch, President of GAIA.
Through this Argentine-flavoured new advert inviting people to ask retailers to stop selling meat from Argentina, GAIA has again made the suffering of horses one of its priorities. “The maltreatment of horses is widespread, particularly in Argentina,” explained Michel Vandenbosch. “The advert gives a very good idea of the terrible suffering inflicted to these animals. However, it does not show the most excruciating atrocities because such images are too cruel to be shown on television.”
These images nevertheless reflect the truth. At the end of 2010, GAIA went to Argentina to conduct an investigation into the gruesome places where horses are held before being transported to abattoirs. The team responsible for the investigation discovered horses with festering sores, broken legs, tied up in enclosures, and more. Similar mistreatment was confirmed during an in-depth investigation by GAIA and other animal rights organizations carried out between March 2012 and January 2014, including in Argentina.
A lucrative business
In Argentina, the transportation of horses to the abattoirs can take up to 20 hours without them being able to eat or drink. In addition to this terrible suffering, the theft of horses is commonplace in Argentina. Horses are therefore increasingly falling into the hands of very well-organized criminal organizations. Michel Vandenbosch said: “There is nothing to indicate that the situation has improved since then. This is why we are calling upon the supermarkets to assume their responsibilities and to stop selling Argentinean horsemeat in order to stem violence inflicted upon horses.”
Lidl Belgium has now stopped selling horsemeat regardless of its origin because it has not been able to find a sales channel guaranteeing the welfare of the horses. Colruyt and Makro have decided to only source horsemeat from EU. Argentinean horsemeat can nevertheless still be found on the shelves of other supermarket chains. The importation of horsemeat from Mexico was banned by the European Commission at the end of 2014, which was also a result of efforts made by GAIA.
However, there are four Belgian companies that are still involved in this lucrative business of horsemeat from South America: Chevideco, Equinox, Multimeat and Velda.