AIMS welcomes FSA decision to drop horse abattoir case

The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) has responded to a dropped court case brought against horse abattoir workers by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as a “triumph for good sense”.

The FSA reported it had dropped charges against five workers at the Red Lion abattoir, also known as Turners Abattoir, near Nantwich. The defendants were due to stand trial on 31 October 2014 at Chester Crown Court for failing to comply with regulations for horses entering the food chain. The charges relating to six horses owned by High Peak Meat Exports between 24 January and 16 April 2013.

Speaking on behalf of the AIMS board, policy director Norman Bagley said: “We are clearly delighted with this outcome, it is a resounding triumph for good sense. Having said that, the entire affair is a classic example of the reason why AIMS has been making a strong case for FSA prosecutions to be dealt with impartially and non-politically by the Crown Prosecution Service, in the same way as the CPS deals with Defra welfare cases. We believe this outcome adds considerable weight to our contention.

“In this instance a knee-jerk reaction to the ‘horsegate’ affair has resulted in a group of individuals being summoned to court to answer charges which didn’t relate in any sense to the actual horsegate. It has been proven conclusively that the charges were clearly unfounded and have been withdrawn for lack of evidence. This brings the entire system into disrepute, makes concerned individuals question why it was done against the background of no evidence and brings into question the way in which the FSA takes its decisions, right from senior management to the board room, which apparently, regardless of cost, must have taken the decision to prosecute and, in so doing, countenance a UK-based scapegoat for horsegate. Whichever way this is looked at, the action has tarnished the reputation of the FSA and a swift review must now be undertaken by the FSA board to prevent any repetition”.


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