A new horsemeat scandal is afoot in Europe, and one Swiss supermarket chain has pulled all horsemeat products from its shelves in the wake of animal abuse claims.
Europe was rocked by a horsemeat scandal last year when packaged meat and prepared foods labeled as beef were found to contain horsemeat, but some stores stock horsemeat on purpose. But that practice has recently come under fire from animal rights groups who say the meat comes from mistreated horses that are not held to animal protection laws.
According to The Local, Denner, a popular discount supermarket chain, announced this week that it would no longer be stocking horsemeat until the products could be verified to meet Swis animal protection laws. Switzerland imports about 5,000 tons of horsemeat annually. The Zurich Humane Society maintains that the meat imported to Switzerland comes from Canadian slaughterhouses, which in turn source the horses from Mexico, Argentina, and Uruguay. Slaughterhouses in the U.S. do not process horsemeat, but horses from the U.S. can be exported to abattoirs in Canada that supply horsemeat to chains including Aldi and Denner.
Humane Society spokesperson Sabrina Gurtner said the animals are often sick and unfit for human consumption. They are often also injured, weak, and transported without medical care or access to water.
Denner said it would stop selling horsemeat until a certification system was in place that would allow customers to know they were purchasing horsemeat that was raised and slaughtered according to Swiss animal protection laws.