Battle MP Greg Barker called for a bill in Parliament this week to prevent illegally exported horses and ponies from Britain ending up in the food chain.
The MP is calling for a crack down on illegal exports of live horses and ponies to foreign markets.
The charity World Horse Welfare estimates that a lorry load of 20 horses could be worth £10,000 at the meat markets, and that trafficking 10,000 horses per year would fetch criminals £5million.
The Bill proposes that the Animal and Plant Health Agency is made the leading enforcement agency to stop illegal trafficking of possibly tens of thousands of Britain’s horses to continental Europe – many of which may enter the food chain.
Greg said “The UK can be proud of its laws that protect the welfare of every one of our country’s one million equine. The laws protect them from indiscriminate export for slaughter. However, in reality, horses and ponies can effectively be shipped anywhere, for any purpose, in any condition because there are is no effective enforcement at our ports.”
Greg’s bill would prevent illegal horse exports by requiring the Secretary of State to commission and publish a study of the effectiveness of enforcement of horse exports, and making a single agency responsible for all animal exports and imports, including health, welfare and documentation.
It would also mandate use of the Government Agency Intelligence Network to ensure close working with other enforcement agencies and NGOs to clamp down on the trade and ensure government receives its due revenue.