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Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK


Horses 'suffer needlessly' on journey to death

The report includes video footage from the undercover investigation

Two animal charities are repeating their call for a ban on the transport of live horses for slaughter after claiming they have found widespread evidence of rules being flouted.

The BBC's Sophie Dekker: "The charities claim the rules on animal welfare are being flouted on a widespread scale''
The RSPCA and the International League for the Protection of Horses say they have evidence that thousands of animals suffer needlessly on long journeys across the continent.

The charities have been carrying out an undercover investigation into the transport of horses from Poland to Italy via the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.

[ image: The charities say some of the horses showed signs of distress after long journey]
The charities say some of the horses showed signs of distress after long journey
They say over a period of 18 months more than 80,000 horses made the journey, many in appalling conditions.

They are handing their report - which includes video footage - to the European Union on Thursday.

'Rules being flouted

The EU's live transport directive says horses should spend a maximum of 24 hours on the road followed by 24 hours rest.

The animals are also supposed to be given water every eight hours and food when necessary.

But the charities say on one journey last year, a consignment of horses spent 47 hours in transit, with the lorry stopping for less than five hours during the journey to an abattoir in Bari.

Many of the animals were lame and showing signs of distress once they had reached their destination.

The charities say it is just one example of the rules on animal welfare being flouted, which they say is happening on a widespread scale.

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