SOME of your readers may already be aware that horses are exported live from Poland to Italy to be slaughtered for meat on arrival.

When animal welfare group Viva! first went to Poland to start campaigning against the live export of horses for meat to the EU nearly 100,000 animals were being transported every year. This number has now collapsed to 30,000 annually and Poland's chief veterinary officer has attributed the slump to Viva!'s high profile campaign. I'd like to appeal to readers to join Viva!'s campaign to end this sickening trade.

Two years ago Viva! filmed undercover to reveal the shocking conditions that the horses are transported in. The footage shows horses beaten with sticks, collapsed and dying, horses with broken legs and emaciated and blinded horses and donkeys.

By the time the horses reach Hungary, just halfway through their journey to the Italian abattoirs, many are injured, dehydrated or dead. At the slaughterhouse, horses are dragged from the lorry using beatings and electric cattle prods.

Often, due to ignored or incomplete stunning methods, the horses are still conscious while their throats are slit - all in front of their companions.

This suffering, just so that greedy people can indulge their appetite for horse flesh, is unacceptable. We must keep up the pressure to gain a complete ban on this wicked trade.

I urge you to support Viva! by contacting them at 8, York Court, Wilder St, Bristol, BS2 8QH. Tel 0117 944 1000.