The British Horse Society has welcomed the suggestion from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal that a debate is needed into Britain's attitude towards horsemeat and how this might impact on equine welfare.
The UK’s largest equestrian membership charity believes that The Princess Royal's comments, made at World Horse Welfare's annual conference in London, have highlighted important issues that merit immediate attention.
The Princess Royal suggested that a market for horsemeat might encourage owners to provide better care for their horses in the expectation that the animals will have a financial value at the end of their lives. The British Horse Society's Welfare Officers experience cases every day where horses have been left to deteriorate and suffer because the owner is not willing or able to fund a humane and timely end to the horse's life.
Lee Hackett, BHS Director of Equine Policy, said: “The resources of all equine welfare charities are being stretched as never before, due to the recession coupled with over-breeding in the equine population. We firmly believe that we should concentrate on the thousands of horses that need our help right now and allow individuals to make their own decision about which meats are acceptable for consumption. If the comments from The Princess Royal open a debate regarding solutions to the equine crisis, then The British Horse Society believes they have been extremely productive.”