The British Horse Society has expressed its shock and revulsion at the sickening footage which shows the appalling mistreatment of horses being slaughtered at the Red Lion Abattoir in Cheshire.
The covert video, obtained by Hillside Animal Sanctuary and released by Sky News, includes scenes of a grey horse being beaten and groups of animals being stunned simultaneously, something that is completely illegal in Britain. Even more distressingly, the film shows a horse apparently returning to consciousness (following stunning) whilst hanging upside down prior to be being bled out.
BHS Chief Executive Lynn Petersen said: "There are absolutely no excuses for what we have seen in this film. The treatment of these horses was barbaric, inhumane and frankly a downright disgrace in twenty-first century Britain.
"I know that every member of The British Horse Society will be as upset by this as I am and we must do everything we can to ensure this never happens again."
Mrs Petersen added "We must praise the swift action of the Food Standards Agency in revoking the licenses of the slaughtermen involved but this cannot be the end of the matter. It is clear tighter regulation of abattoirs is required and we would support the compulsory installation of CCTV in all such premises."
The BHS has previously made clear that it believes the consumption of horse meat is a moral choice for the individual. However, the Society has been campaigning for a number of years to halt the indiscriminate breeding and overproduction of horses that is endemic in Britain.
A huge proportion of the horses that end up in abattoirs are there because there are no other options for them, not because they have been ethically bred and raised specifically for the purpose of meat production. This is a sad indictment on a nation of animal lovers and the BHS is calling for everybody involved with horses to adopt the mantra 'Think Before You Breed'.
In combination with tighter regulation of abattoirs, perhaps this is the way to ensure there is never a repeat of this week's shameful footage.