Now, here’s a thing. Mary Creagh has set some ferocious cats amongst the local pigeons [You do mean harses don't ya? - Ed]. She alone of politicians with any local interest, has been listening to the concerns of the USPCA:
“The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have clear evidence of an illegal trade of unfit horses from Ireland to the UK for meat, with horses being re-passported to meet demands for horse meat in mainland Europe.
“It says that there are currently 70,000 horses unaccounted for in Northern Ireland. Unwanted horses are being sold for €10 and being sold on for meat for €500 – a lucrative trade. It is very convenient to blame the Poles and the Romanians but so far neither country have found any problems with their beef abattoirs.”
No problems here says our Minster for Agriculture (who actually now has got at least two different problems). As the rather more active southern Minister has already said
“Somebody is selling rogue product and somebody knows about it and is responsible.”
The problem is even he may not be properly accounting for the real situation on the ground. As discovered by Labour Tommy Brougham TD the number of horses going to Irish abattoirs has gone through the roof since the recession began.
In response to another question from Deputy Broughan, Minister Coveney admitted that his department had not been keeping a tally on the horse population… Which raises the question of who has been keeping an eye on the situation in Northern Ireland? None of them, says the USPCA.
The devil here is as ever going to lie in the detail…