Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

passport rules out Horses

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Ossory Meats in Banagher, Co Offaly, is "turning away more horses than we take in" as a result of the tighter passport rules on slaughter, according to director Pat Hayes.

In 2012, the company slaughtered 7,500 horses but it now looks likely that its throughput will be reduced by at least 50pc this year.

"I get calls from people about taking in horses and they tell me they have proper books but after talking to them for a few minutes it turns out they don't have clean books," said Mr Hayes.

"I have people calling out what's written on their passports over the phone because the owners don't know what they need."

Mr Hayes told the Abbeyleix meeting that he had European customers waiting to buy horsemeat but he was running out of raw material.

He called for a testing regime to be put in place where horses could be assessed prior to slaughter for drug residue.

"If we could blood test horses, there is no reason why we couldn't kill 15,000 horses a year between ourselves and one other facility," he maintained.

The former beef farmer said he believed the extent of the unwanted horses problem was being underestimated.

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"Personally, I think the figure is closer to 100,000 horses," he claimed.

"I know of four people with 2,000 horses between them, all undocumented and not eligible for the factory."

Ossory Meats is currently paying €400-450/hd for full size half-bred or thoroughbred horses with suitable paperwork for slaughter.

Irish Independent