Mistreated horses in Australia ended up on Swiss plates


The horse abuse scandal made news in Australia last year. Keystone / Laura Leon

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

This content was published on February 17, 2020 - 10:04

On Sunday the “Mise au point” programme of Swiss public broadcaster RTS showed footage of 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 Zurich.  

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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. 


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