by Lauren Lewis | 12 Dec 2022
In a major victory, a criminal organization in Spain that was illegally marketing horses for slaughter was recently dismantled by The Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) and Europol.
Eighty horses, that displayed signs of animal abuse and had no veterinary care were also rescued during what was dubbed “Operation YUCATÁN.” Sadly, at least one of the horses was so ill that he had to be euthanized. More than half a ton of tainted horse meat was also seized.
Thirty-five people, including those responsible for the illegal network, were arrested for their participation in the scheme that involved buying and selling sick horses from a so-called farm in the Valencia province of Spain.
The accused, along with six legal entities, were investigated for belonging to a criminal organization, money laundering, animal abuse, crimes against public health, and document falsification.
The traceability of the animals was altered by manipulating their registration and falsifying the documentation of the horses that includes their individual identification, their suitability for consumption, or their transfer for subsequent slaughter with the possibility of reaching the food chain.
The gang was motivated by greed. As per a statement by Guardia Civil, “The benefit was that the “waste horses” were obtained for prices close to 100 euros, or even free, reaching values close to 1,500 euros for their sale.” It is estimated that via covert transport, the organization generated an estimated 4,500,000 euros.
During international transport of the horses, most of them were unable to access food or water, being subjected to a situation of permanent stress, causing very serious damage to their health.
At a national level, one of the criminals investigated managed to sell the horses to feedlots, which are livestock farms dedicated to fattening animals for subsequent human consumption.
» Europol and Spain lead horse meat fraud investigation, Tuesday’s Horse, 2 Dec 2022
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