Horse meat trial shines light on key part of international fraud

Frozen meat adulterated with horse intended for burgers. Photograph: City of London Police.
Frozen meat adulterated with horse intended for burgers. Photograph: City of London Police.

The Guardian| Felicity Lawrence | July 26, 2017 | Full Article

The conviction of three men in London for conspiracy to defraud by selling horse mislabelled as beef marks the end of the UK police operation to identify the criminals in its jurisdiction behind the horsemeat scandal of 2013.

Operation Boldo, run by the City of London police’s specialist fraud division, tracked just one of the trails of dodgy meat that were exposed when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published tests at the beginning of 2013.

These showed that burgers and ready meals on sale in leading retailers and fast food outlets contained undeclared horse and pig DNA. The FSAI report sparked testing across Europe, which exposed industrial-scale adulteration of the food supply.

Investigations that followed in the UK led to others being charged with or convicted of regulatory offences relating to horse slaughter or selling beefburgers containing undeclared offal, and a conviction for labelling goat as lamb but, four and a half years on, this is the first UK conviction for selling mislabelled horsemeat. • Keep reading »

The Daily Mail | July 27, 2017 | Full Article

A businessman was today found guilty of being part of a near-£200,000 conspiracy to pass off 30 tonnes of horsemeat as beef, much of which went on to enter the food chain.

The court heard how Danish-owned company FlexiFoods would buy horsemeat and beef from suppliers across Europe and have it delivered to Dinos in Tottenham, North London.

Labels and paperwork were fabricated to make the mixed meat appear like pure beef, before it was sold on to food manufacturers making products for a ‘vast range of well-known companies’, prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told the trial.

The businessman was caught after equine microchips were discovered in some packages. The animals had not been sold for slaughter. • Read more »

A young horse just died at this Racetrack — and no one’s talking about it

His was the third death in just two months.

Horses jump out of the starting gate at Saratoga racecourse. Saratoga.com.
Horses jump out of the starting gate at Saratoga racecourse. Saratoga.com.

THE DODO | BY SARAH V. SCHWEIG | JULY 26, 2017 | Link to Article

A 3-year-old thoroughbred horse named Wanztbwicked was euthanized on the Saratoga racetrack on Saturday after breaking down during training — he’s the third horse to die at the New York track in just two months — and no one’s really even talking about it.

That’s because casualties like this are the norm for horse racing. Hundreds of horses die on tracks in the U.S. every year.

In just New York state so far this year, over 50 horses have died at racetracks and many more have been injured. Last year, at Saratoga alone, 17 horses died from racing-related injuries.

Part of the reason so many young racehorses die is because of a lack of regulation on drugs administered to the animals, according to Vivian Grant Farrell, founder and president of The Horse Fund, an organization that promotes horse welfare. Farrell said that horses are commonly given drugs to mask preexisting injuries so that they can “run through the pain,” and this compromises their safety.

“Man and animal alike love to do what they were created to. Racehorses love to run. But some even go so far as to believe that racehorses love to compete. Perhaps, but not in the way a human being does. In the instance of horse racing, too often humans project insatiable appetites for money and glory onto the performance of these magnificent animals,” Farrell told The Dodo after a young horse died at the Belmont Stakes in 2015. And little has changed since that death, and so many others.

“Horses continue to die unnecessarily on America’s racetracks,” Jane Allin, research writer for The Horse Fund, told The Dodo.

One of the most memorable deaths on the track was a horse named Eight Belles, who was euthanized at the Kentucky Derby after getting injured on May 3, 2008. “It was her tragic death that spurred a major undertaking to address the pervasive use of drugs — both therapeutic and performance-enhancing — in every division of horse racing occurring on the tracks across the U.S.,” Allin said. “Since this time, has anything really changed?”

Eight Belles falls to her chest as she fractures both front legs after crossing the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.
Eight Belles falls to her chest as she fractures both front legs after crossing the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

In terms of drug use, nothing has changed, according to Allin. “Year after year, the racing industry meets to discuss and argue about developing new regulations … but the industry itself is divided and so the ideas of many well-intentioned individuals are mired in disagreement,” she said.

Allin pointed out that Saratoga, like other tracks across the nation, has a history of death. “With the rampant use of drugs in North America, unlike other jurisdictions in the world, there is certainty that horses are compromised, leading to a greater number of fatalities on the track, reported or not,” Allin said. “It seems no horse is immune to these abhorrent practices… Horse racing in North America is a sham. Until real changes [take place], racing here will continue down the ugly path of deceit and death.”

Even if better regulations pass, there are other problems that cast a dark cloud over the industry. “There are some horse racing jurisdictions that are highly praised such as Hong Kong where drug abuse is virtually nonexistent. However, gambling is the heartbeat of horse racing and it has much more to do with running ‘clean’ races, which bettors in their culture demand, than any consideration for the racehorse,” Farrell told The Dodo. For instance, it is not uncommon for ex-racehorses to be shipped to slaughter or die of neglect. “How can you make an industry humane that for decades has been dumping racehorses of no further use to them in slaughterhouses?” Farrell said.

Read full article »

Additional Reading

Horse Racing Special Reports, Jane Allin »
Horseracing Wrongs, Patrick Battuello »
Racehorses Killed in 2017, Patrick Battuello »

Featured Image

Horses jump out of the starting gate at Saratoga racecourse. Saratoga.com.

Despite Trump promise, BLM breaks rule of Law making extinction all but inevitable for Wild Horses & Burros

Wild horse helicopter roundup. National Geographic.
Wild horse helicopter roundup. National Geographic.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s White Paper exposes BLM: Never-seen evidence proves America’s wild horses and burros are disappearing without explanation

PINEHURST, TexasJuly 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Inc. (WHFF), today released its white paper, “Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, with a Focus on Problems Related to Holding Facilities.”  America’s wild horses and burros – long a national treasure and symbol of freedom – are endangered and being pushed towards extinction, despite the Trump administration’s promise to uphold the rule of law. 

The comprehensive white paper cites taxpayer waste and multitudes of inconsistencies in documentation presented to both the American public and Congress.  These alleged offenses continue to occur under the direction of Trump-appointed Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI), Ryan Zinke.

WHFF’s document notes current and historical violations that include evidence of misrepresentation, wasting taxpayer funds, and lack of scientific accounting for the wild horses and burros — in absolute defiance of the Congressional statute that provides for the safety of the iconic wild herds.

The five-year investigation culminating in the document has uncovered a consistent pattern of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) releasing misinformation thought to confuse and mislead the American taxpaying public and legislators.

For years, the BLM has taken healthy wild horses and burros from their legally protected lands in the American West at the expense of taxpayers.  Notably, on those lands, the cost to taxpayers was nothing, yet the BLM roundups have continued, taking tens of thousands of wild horses into captivity.  Despite the reported number of horses in captivity (46,000) to date, large numbers of horses have mysteriously disappeared from the holding pens or during transports where they never arrived.  And it appears that taxpayer money has been wasted by the BLM, at the expense of the wild horses and burros they are supposed to protect.

WHFF’s FOIA obtained documentation on this topic, many of which have never been reviewed by Congress or the public, appear to verify that BLM statements are filled with inaccuracies and poor math. The beneficiaries of this systemic misrepresentation have been ranching and corporate energy interests, both of whom, not surprisingly, are major donors to politicians who cover the areas where the most wild horses and burros are found.

Despite a strident outcry from American taxpayers who want, as the law requires, the horses and burros protected and returned to their rightful place on public lands, the BLM has repeatedly asserted to America that the wild horses and burros need to be under its care.  In the last century, the wild horse population has gone from two million to less than 36,000 under BLM management.  Less than two out of 100 wild horses that were present then remain in 2017.

WHFF’s white paper details multiple examples of mishandling of taxpayer funds, but the upshot is simple: alleged false assurances have been offered up to taxpayers while private and special interests have had their way with the use of public lands.  In another words, the BLM is the fox that guards the henhouse, seemingly unwilling to enforce the laws that obligate them to protect wild horses and burros.

“The DOI and the BLM have undertaken a long term ‘Fake News’ campaign to spread misinformation to confuse the issue. They want the wild horses and burros slaughtered, gone, full stop.  Americans are not going to stand for that,” says Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s President R.T. Fitch.  “It appears that President Trump appointed a long time horse slaughter proponent to oversee the DOI and his first major act could be to kill tens of thousands of wild horses and burros making this White Paper a timely must read for all Americans.” he continued.

This is paramount in importance right now for the wild horses and burros and American taxpayers.  In the coming days the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the Interior appropriations bill, which includes the Wild Horse and Burro Program with the threat of killing wild horses and burros touted as a budgetary necessity.  Without intervention, for the rising generations of America, wild horses and burros will be gone forever.


To read the WHFF white paper and for more information go to:
http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/.

Download and deliver it to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators (pdf, 44 pp).


Wild Horse Freedom Federation(WHFF) is a Texas non-profit corporation with federal 501c3 status. WHFF is the voice of not only those animals that cannot speak for themselves but also, most effectively, for the majority of the American public which has repeatedly expressed the desire to stop the unnecessary removal of wild horses and burros from public lands where they should remain, and the proper, legal management of the Wild Horse & Burro Program.

WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.

Source

Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Inc. News Release

Related Links

http://www.wildhorsefreedom.org

Featured Image

National Geographic

Foto Friday: Millennia old hillside chalk carvings of horses in England

 

Though many forms of geoglyphs have existed in England for millennia, horses became the country’s most prominent choice of hillside chalk carvings. DAVE PRICE/CC BY-SA 2.0
Though many forms of geoglyphs have existed in England for millennia, horses became the country’s most prominent choice of hillside chalk carvings. DAVE PRICE/CC BY-SA 2.0

England’s Centuries-Old Fascination With Carving Giant Horses Into Hillsides

The country’s unbridled enthusiasm for the trend even inspired the creation of the term “leucippotomy.”

BY KERRY WOLFE

ENGLAND (Atlas Obscura, July 20, 2017) — AFTER AN ANCIENT CARVING OF a horse appeared on a hill three millennia ago, giant white horses became a symbol of England’s southeastern region. Dozens of horse-shaped geoglyphs—massive figures made by cutting into a hillside to reveal the layers of chalk beneath—were created over the years. Many of these enormous equines still exist today, though the exact origins of the trend remain mysterious.

Most of these gigantic archaeological artworks are located in the country’s southeastern areas because of the breadth of chalk downland, or hills, that stretch across the region. The white geoglyphs stand in stark contrast to the verdant landscapes they dominate—so much so, they often had to be covered or camouflaged during World War II so the German Air Force couldn’t use them as location markers to aid navigation.

The chalk horses became so prominent they inspired Morris Marples, a mid-20th century author, to coin the term “leucippotomy” to describe the specialized art of carving white horses into hillsides. Britain currently has 16 known white hill horses, but it once had many more that were lost to years of neglect that caused their once-prominent profiles to fade from sight. Read more »