EC wants Poland to increase fines for illegal slaughter of cows

Following the EU inspectors’ audit of Polish slaughterhouses, that was triggered by one slaughterhouse butchering sick cows and sending the meat to 14 EU member states, the European Commission (EC) provided Poland with its recommendations on how to avoid such incidents in the future.

On Monday, Poland's chief veterinarian Paweł Niemczuk said, in Brussels, that the EC "has given Poland its recommendations regarding the illegal slaughter of cows."

The chief veterinarian told reporters that on Friday Poland's authorities had received a letter from the EC with its recommendations regarding what should be done and when. According to Mr Niemczuk, one of the EC’s pieces of advice is that Poland increases fines for such crimes.

Mr Niemczuk was in Brussels to present a report regarding the illegal slaughter of cows during a monthly summit of EU experts of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.

Regarding the EU inspectors’ prospective report on the illegal slaughter of sick cows in Poland, which will be ready within ten days, as of Friday February 8, Mr Niemczuk said that Poland is to send its response “regarding [its] corrective action in the coming days. It will be handed over to the EC by the end of this week.”

Poland’s chief veterinarian stressed that the EC's recommendations also concerned the identification and registration of animals.

The EC probe came in the wake of an investigative TV programme by a private Polish broadcaster TVN24 that revealed the illegal slaughter. Journalists used undercover filming techniques to expose how diseased cows were killed at a slaughterhouse in Ostrów Mazowiecka, in north-eastern Poland, without the presence of a veterinarian to oversee the operation.

Meat from the illegal slaughter of cows in a Polish slaughterhouse was sent to 14 European Union countries, including Poland.

Under EU law, all live animals, before slaughter, must be inspected in the presence of an official veterinarian. The carcasses must also be examined under veterinary supervision immediately after slaughter. Animals cannot be considered fit for human consumption if they carry any disease or pose any other health risk.