The recent revelations over the use of Equine meat is shocking many people but I and many animal welfare organisations have been investigating the export of horses and donkeys for meat for decades.
In some cases the investigative teams have been warned that there is criminal involvement from smuggling drugs within the animals and in most cases the stated purpose of the transport is to supply meat for the non human market.
Campaigns carried out by Animals Angels and The Donkey Sanctuary along with several other welfare organisations exposed that thousands of equine were travelling from Eastern Europe to Italy in horrific conditions.
Horses and donkeys were making journeys in excess of 40 hours in terrible conditions, crammed illegally into double-decker lorries and without feed or water. Donkey foals crushed to death, horses with horrific injuries were all witnessed by welfare officers.
After the production of so much evidence agreements were made to tighten up the legislation and organisations like Animals Angels have continued campaigning to further improve conditions.
The problem is that where there is money to be made welfare standards will always be the first thing to suffer and greed will result in animal misery. These latest stories show that the low price of equine meat is a tempting alternative to other more expensive species.
Identifying what is on the shelf in the local supermarket is not something that can be done by taste or eye, you can never be sure what meat you are eating and this latest revelation is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you buy meat from unknown sources there is always going to be a good chance that you will be eating products other than what is on the packaging, apart from it being from animals other than the one stated on the package it could also have been condemned or originally destined for pet food!
All over Europe thousands of horses donkeys and mules are nearly worthless and destined for the abattoir, because of their low value they will be treated in ways that would if witnessed by most people would cause outrage.
If most people visited an abattoir and saw what is involved in bringing meat to the table they would seriously consider if they wanted to continue eating meat.
The problem as always is in the hands of the many, organisations like Animals Angels and others will continue to work tirelessly in often dangerous conditions to bring the facts out in the open but the real change will have to come from a change in the way we see and treat other sentient beings.