From stable to fork: EU Horse Meat Imports (updated version)
Just under 66.1 million horses are recorded as livestock worldwide, with 6.3 million being slaughtered every year. Equine welfare and the traceability and identification of horses has been a topic of heated discussions in the last few years. In 2013, the European Union was shaken by its own horse meat scandal, when supposed beef products sold at retailers turned out to contain horse meat. It led many consumers to question the content of their food. Longer supply chains and more operators are involved in the equine meat industry compared to other categories of meat, which increases risks for consumers and animals.
NGO investigations, EU audits and scandals have all highlighted the need for greater protection of equine welfare in horse meat production, as well as for improved identification and traceability of horses in order to ensure food safety and prevent fraudulent activities.