The documentary “Cinco Corazones”, released a week ago, reveals the harsh reality behind the lives of Argentinian horses.
The horses suffer many forms of abuse from the moment they are born, only to end their lives being slaughtered for export to consumers in Europe.
“The harshness of the images shows that things happen that European consumers would not love to see,” director Martín Parlato told Reuters about the documentary.
Last year, around 105,000 horses were slaughtered in Argentina. Their meat was mainly sent to France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Holland, Russia and Japan, government data show.
Argentina does not allow horses to be eaten in the country, but is one of the largest global exporters of horse meat.
The South-American country is known to use horses for polo matches and as carrying vehicles. After the horses are no good for their owners anymore, they’re sent to a slaughterhouse and sold as meat.
The documentary shows horses destined for the slaughterhouse living in poor conditions, eating next to a mountain of dead animals and drinking water that Parlato describes as “rotten.”
“The main problems are the mistreatment of horses and the lack of traceability,” Sabrina Gurtner, project manager at the Animal Welfare Foundation in Germany, says in the film. “And another big problem in Argentina is corruption.”
Parlato said that he was working with EU lawmakers on actions to stop the import of horse meat.
“What we want as a final aim is the prohibition of the importation of (horse) meat by Europe,” he said. “Hopefully, equine slaughter and this mistreatment of horses can be banned.”