Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has called on the European Commission to instigate the mandatory testing of all horse carcasses across Europe for the veterinary drug ‘bute’, which poses a risk to public health.
Deputy Ó Cuív was reacting to a proposal by the EU Commissioner for Health to randomly test beef produce and horse meat in affected countries, which he says does not go far enough.
“While I note the announcement by the European Commission (EC) that they will recommend random testing of beef product and horse carcasses in affected countries, this does not go far enough.
“This was a European issue from day one and it is only now that a co-ordinated European response to the crisis is being considered. I have been calling for EC action since the scandal first broke and a lot of damage was caused to the Irish and European beef trade as we awaited leadership on the scandal.
“The proposals from the EC do not go far enough and I believe they will not get to the bottom of the crisis. I am calling for the mandatory testing of all horse carcasses across Europe for the drug ‘bute’, which if found in horsemeat would pose a risk to public health. I am also calling for the introduction of a mandatory centralised ID system for horses in each European country like we have for cattle in Ireland, which would make it a lot easier to trace the origin of the meat.
“Europe needs to get on top of this and the EU needs to show more leadership. As the crisis deepens the more damage is being caused to confidence in the European beef sector. Mandatory testing of horse carcasses as well as the establishment of a centralised ID system for horses will go a long way to restoring confidence in the sector.”