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Selected Publication:

Publication type: Diploma Thesis

Year: 2015

Author(s): Jost, Lisa

Title: Historische und aktuelle Bedeutung von Pferden zur Fleischgewinnung und Analyse der Pferdefleischproduktion in Mitteleuropa.

Other title: Historical and actual relevance of horses for the meat production and analysis of the horse meat production in Central Europe

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 138.


Brem Gottfried

Paulsen Peter

Vetmed Research Units:
Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics

Using horses for the production of meat is a controversial topic, which was and is treated in various ways during different times and in different countries. Horsemeat was and is also historically founded a niche product, for which special laws applied and still apply. This diploma thesis evaluates the historical and recent development of the horsemeat production and consumption and the trend which can be expected in Central Europe for the future. Furthermore the question, if the production structure of horsemeat in Austria differentiates from the structure in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France, is addressed. Firstly official statistical data was gathered, edited and analysed. Secondly a questionnaire was developed (in German, French and Italian) and Austrian, German, Swiss, Italian and French establishments, which had the permission to slaughter horses, were asked to fill it in. The current data regarding the slaughtering of horses and the consumption of horsemeat in (Central) Europe clarifies (despite minor fluctuation) a decrease in the last two decades. The decrease is even more marked, when a longer period of time is observed. According to the data available an ongoing slight decrease can be assumed for the years to come. The evaluation of 123 questionnaires from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy revealed a difference in the average proportion of the different types of horses (pony, heavy horse, crossbred horse and thoroughbred horse) regarding the total amount of horses slaughtered in the questioned establishments. While in Austria and Switzerland heavy horses are the main group, in Germany and Italy more crossbred horses are slaughtered. Another difference between the countries is the average proportion of different motives for slaughtering: In Italy on the one hand the main group are foals, which were raised for meat production. Especially in Germany but also in Austria and Switzerland, on the other hand the main reasons for slaughtering are health reasons and old age. Regarding the average age pattern of slaughtered heavy horses, they are younger in Austria and Switzerland than in Germany and Italy.

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