Horsemeat trading ring dismantled by police

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Europol and Guardia Civil have arrested 66 people suspected of involvement in the scam
Europol and Guardia Civil have arrested 66 people suspected of involvement in the scam
An investigation by the Spanish Guardia Civil, in co-ordination with Europol, has led to the dismantling of a horsemeat trading ring.

The operation, which had ties to Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, has led to the arrest of 66 people. The majority of those (65) were arrested in Spain and charged with crimes such as animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation.

This investigation is linked to the horsemeat scandal​ that rocked the meat industry in 2013 when Irish authorities detected horsemeat in beef burgers. This led to Guardia Civil initiating Operation Gazel which examined unusual behaviour in horsemeat markets in Europe including the forging of animal identification.

Operation Gazel resulted in the identification of a Dutch businessman related to the Irish beef burger contamination, who was based in Alicante, Spain, as well as the group’s activities across Europe.

Multiple arrests in Spain are linked to animal abuse charges
Multiple arrests in Spain are linked to animal abuse charges

Supercars seized

The arrest of the leader of the criminal group was carried out in Belgium, and was coordinated by the Federal Police, the Federal Food Agency in Belgium and Guardia Civil.

As a result of these arrests, several bank accounts and properties were blocked or seized, and five luxury cars seized.

During the searches at the slaughterhouses and facilities, several samples were taken. The results concluded that the destination of the horsemeat was mainly outside of Spain, due to the fact that the samples in Spain matched those found abroad.

The fallout from the 2013 horsemeat scandal is still being felt today, with the trial of three men involved currently taking place in the UK.

This is third major meat investigation by the Spanish police in as many months. In May, Guardia Civil investigated a company that was alleged to be adding other products such as pork, bread and fat to beef burgers​ to bulk them up, while in June, the police arrested owners of a warehouse that was keeping meat in close proximity to mice and dead birds​.

Despite these high profile cases, the National Meat Processing Industries Association of Spain said “illicit activity is rare​”​.

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3 comments

Horse slaughter.

Posted by Elaine,

Just another pointer, people frown with disgust at the very mention of killing horses, they very subject provokes high emotions.....but, consider this...your horse is old, Ill, or maybe you can no longer afford to keep your beloved horse, but rather than pass them on to someone else you would rather see the end of them. Does anyone truly know how much it costs to have the body of a large animal removed from your premises..??? Should you have a horse or cow euthanized on your property if by barbiturates then it has to be cremated (around £300 - £500) if the hunt kills the animal then they will shoot it and take the body in payment...a slaughter house will take your horse, depending on the business (LJ Potter) where you can book an appointment and accompany your horse to the end....you will also get a sum which could cover last minute expenses....

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Horsemeat.

Posted by Elaine,

I would like to make a point when it comes to Americans not eating horsemeat....which has led to a USA ban on killing horses.....this ass about face victory leaves me puzzled....Americans won't kill horses, yet they are exporting them by the hundreds of thousands to Canada (which has NO animal welfare laws) to Mexico (which has animal welfare laws but rarely imposed). These horses suffer torturous journeys and brutal handling....yet Americans find this acceptable? Good slaughter laws in USA even with a ban on eating horsemeat would surely be preferable.....
Moving on, meat eating will be with us for many years to come...the problem is the reputation of the meat industry, throughout it's history shrouded in the darkest depths of the imagination.....the very industry deals with killing animals...now animals are going to have to be killed for many reasons...to stop killing is ridiculous..there is too much cruelty and neglect already, and large animals need different euthanasia to small animals....and the meat industry will always be with us in one shape or form....whatever animal is eaten NEEDS to have the best possible end and in the best possible circumstances. Death is not a green light for brutality or hiding behind the veil of high walls and security. Death needs to be better and lawfully controlled. The meat industry needs cleaning up... if horses are to be eaten then they should be dealt with properly as should any food animal....slaughter is an emotive subject that is rarely given the airing it needs.

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Americans don't eat horses!

Posted by horsedoc,

High Five ! Bust them all and lock their sorry arses up forever - or better yet, make them muck stalls for the rest of their sorry lives.

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