02. March 2020

Australia | Caboolture, Queensland | Horsemeat imports: Meramist abattoir

Stressed horses are biting each other inside the trailer.

Unprofessional handling: During unloading the horse is hit on the head.

A gelding has sustained a severe leg injury when he fell down on the slippery pen floor.

Emaciated thoroughbred horses delivered by kill buyer Munro.

A cachectic horse which appears to be sick, also delivered by kill buyer Munro.

We observe the Meramist abattoir on the day before the horses are slaughtered. Throughout the day, horses are being delivered. They are crammed together in open cattle trucks, which are inappropriate for the transport of horses. They are stressed, and therefore frequently biting each other. The unloading process at Meramist abattoir is unprofessional and the handling of the animals is rough. We detect horses that are injured or lame. Many are emaciated. Some of them are in such a poor condition that they should have been declared unfit for transport according to Australian animal welfare standards. We document a bay horse that is delivered by kill buyer Brian Munro that is in a particularly poor condition. The horse is cachectic, with a wound on the chest and large open pustules on the body and face. The animal looks sick.

The floor of the slaughterhouse pens is slippery. We observe how a gelding falls to the pen ground and injures himself. He sustains a severe, gaping wound on the right front leg. His posture clearly shows that he is in pain. However, the worker in the pen ignores the emergency situation and leaves the wound on the leg untreated.

Moreover, we observe how a group of eleven horses without collars is being delivered. According to the Australian traceability rules, only brumbies (wild horses) do not require identification collars before they are slaughtered. However, the brands on the shoulders reveal that these are not brumbies but rather racehorses. If horses are slaughtered whose origin is not traceable, there is a lack of information which drugs they have been administered. Therefore, the risk of drug residues in their meat is particularly high.

It becomes oppressively hot today and the temperature climbs up to 36°C. In most pens, the shade provided by a small fabric roof is by far insufficient for the number of horses. One pen offers no weather protection at all – the fabric roof has come off and has not been replaced.