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Police in Europe Break Up Network Selling Illegal Horse Meat Police in Europe Break Up Network Selling Illegal Horse Meat
(35 minutes later)
GENEVA — The European police have dismantled a criminal network that was selling horse meat across the Continent that was “not suitable for consumption,” arresting 66 people as part of a four-year investigation prompted by the discovery in Ireland of horse meat in burgers sold as beef. GENEVA — The police in Europe have dismantled a criminal network that was selling horse meat across the Continent that was “not suitable for consumption,” arresting 66 people as part of a four-year investigation prompted by the discovery in Ireland of horse meat in burgers sold as beef.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said on Sunday that all but one of the arrests had been made in Spain. But the Spanish police said in a separate statement that their part of the investigation had accounted for “a small portion of a network stretching across the whole of Europe, under the control of a Dutch citizen.”Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said on Sunday that all but one of the arrests had been made in Spain. But the Spanish police said in a separate statement that their part of the investigation had accounted for “a small portion of a network stretching across the whole of Europe, under the control of a Dutch citizen.”
The Dutch citizen, who has not been publicly identified and was taken into custody in April in Belgium, was described in a Europol statement as the leader of a criminal gang that had acquired horses on the Iberian Peninsula that were judged to be “in bad shape, too old or simply labeled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’ ”The Dutch citizen, who has not been publicly identified and was taken into custody in April in Belgium, was described in a Europol statement as the leader of a criminal gang that had acquired horses on the Iberian Peninsula that were judged to be “in bad shape, too old or simply labeled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’ ”
The animals’ meat was processed and sent to Belgium, one of the European Union’s biggest exporters of horse meat, and the criminal organization modified the animals’ microchips and documentation to facilitate the fraudulent export, the statement said.The animals’ meat was processed and sent to Belgium, one of the European Union’s biggest exporters of horse meat, and the criminal organization modified the animals’ microchips and documentation to facilitate the fraudulent export, the statement said.
The Pan-European investigation began after a scandal over horse meat in burgers in Ireland in 2013, and it was widened to other European countries as dishes like frozen lasagna labeled as containing beef were found to have horse meat.The Pan-European investigation began after a scandal over horse meat in burgers in Ireland in 2013, and it was widened to other European countries as dishes like frozen lasagna labeled as containing beef were found to have horse meat.
In addition to the arrests, the Spanish police said on Sunday that they had seized property and luxury cars, and that they had frozen bank accounts. The police in Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland also carried out interventions, according to Europol, although the statement did not provide details.In addition to the arrests, the Spanish police said on Sunday that they had seized property and luxury cars, and that they had frozen bank accounts. The police in Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland also carried out interventions, according to Europol, although the statement did not provide details.
Meat safety has been a major European health issue since the 1990s, when bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was found to have spread to humans. The European Union has sought to tighten quality controls on meat imports, tussling this year with Brazil over whether to ban meat shipments after a police investigation in the country uncovered corruption involving food-sanitation inspectors.Meat safety has been a major European health issue since the 1990s, when bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was found to have spread to humans. The European Union has sought to tighten quality controls on meat imports, tussling this year with Brazil over whether to ban meat shipments after a police investigation in the country uncovered corruption involving food-sanitation inspectors.
In Spain, horse slaughtering became an increasingly divisive issue during the recent financial crisis, as animal welfare associations denounced an uptick in the slaughtering, as well as the illegal killing of, animals whose owners said they could no longer afford to keep them. In Spain, horse slaughtering became an increasingly divisive issue during the recent financial crisis, as animal welfare associations denounced an uptick in the slaughtering, as well as the illegal killing, of animals whose owners said they could no longer afford to keep them.