Charities back Plymouth paper's horse campaign

More than 30,000 readers have backed a campaign by the Western Morning News to stop a resumption in the live export of horses for meat.

The Plymouth-based morning newspaper launched its campaign last month after discovering that an optout clause that currently prevents horses, ponies and donkeys being exported live from Britain for slaughter, is under threat.

The WMN has been publishing daily updates, posters and petition forms since the campaign’s launch.

Editor Barrie Williams said: “We always get a very good response from our readers to our campaigns, but this has been just phenomenal.”

Letters, e-mails and calls from people backing the campaign have come in from all over the country, not just from the WMN’s West of England circulation area. Some have even come in from abroad, prompted by the newspaper’s website.

The opt-out clause is contained in current EU regulations governing the trade. It will be lost unless draft regulations from the European Commission, released last month to overhaul the existing rules, are modified.

The loophole was brought to light by Compassion in World Farming political and legal director Peter Stevenson, who was a lone voice on the issue until the WMN investigated his claim and found it to be true.

Since then, other charitable groups, including the world’s largest equine charity, the International League for the Protection of Horses, have joined the campaign.

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