Monday, February 11, 2013

Mafia Gangs Connected to Horsemeat Scandal

It just gets worse and worse...  

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Mafia gangs connected to horsemeat scandal

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 11th-Feb-2013       As Posted on Horse & Country

image of horses for slaughter
According to the World Horse Welfare horsemeat is far less regulated and cheaper to produce ©Chris Ison/PA Archive/PA

As the horsemeat scandal escalates, criminal gangs are suspected of messing with food production and making millions out of it.

Criminal conspiracy

Following the recent spate of contamination, which revealed that Findus frozen lasagnes contained up to 100% horsemeat, the Metropolitan Police has been called in to investigate, and is working alongside other forces in Europe.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson fears that a worldwide criminal network could be responsible for the scandal. If this turns out to be the case, the goverment has said it will bring in the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.
“I'm concerned that this is an international criminal conspiracy here and we've really got to get to the bottom of it,” said Paterson.

Mafia gangs

According to a report in the Observer, experts within the horse slaughter industry claim that there is evidence of Polish and Italian mafia gangs running large operations where horsemeat is substituted for beef during food production. Collaboration with vets and officials working at abattoirs and food production plants is coerced through intimidation.
These industry sources have suggested that there are also gangs operating in Russia and the Baltic states. Indeed the meat used in the Findus ‘beef’ lasagnes came from Romania. 
The frozen products were made by a French company called Comigel, whose supplier is Spanghero, which is also based in France. Comigel president Erick Lehagre initially said that Spanghero supplied their beef from French cattle, however he was then forced to retract his statement when the horse meat scandal broke.
“We realised a week ago that there was a problem, after being alerted by customers in Britain,” said Lehagre. “We have identified the supplier concerned, Spanghero. They've told us the meat came from a Romanian producer who used abattoirs which slaughtered both cattle and horses and processed beef and horse meat.”
Comigel is sueing Spanghero, which also claims it is the victim of fraud and in turn intends to sue its Romanian supplier.

Equine aids

If the meat is from Romania, as suspected, it is likely to be infected with equine infectious anaemia (EIA). This disease is endemic in Romania and while is poses no risk to humans, it led to the ban of exporting Romanian horses three years ago.
According to Roly Owers, from the World Horse Welfare, horsemeat is far less regulated and much cheaper to produce, which inevitably leaves the industry - and horses - open to abuse.
“After BSE the whole beef system was far more tightly regulated in terms of identity, testing and locality, but with horses that’s not the case,” he said.
However, Paterson remains emphatic that this is an issue of labelling fraud – and “not a matter of health, for the moment.” However, he also warned consumers to expect “further bad news over the week” as tests are carried out by the FSA on all processed meats.
“We do not know how far this incompetence or worse, criminal conspiracy, extends," he said.  "If we find there's a product which could potentially be injurious to public health, then emphatically I would take necessary action.”


  1. We don't want or need it here (Canada) either Declan!!! It's TRULY a very sad & disturbing thing, on many levels!!! You do great things!!! Proud of you!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  2. After learning of the horse meat scandal here in the UK, I decided to read up about Romania and its slaughter houses. What I read was so disturbing, I couldn't bring myself to look at the pictures. The wonderful people of Romania, who saved so many of the feral horses from slaughter, should be applauded and their vile Government condemned. This cruelty is worldwide and so many animals (not just horses) suffer at the hands of man. Hopefully, with so much media attention, things will change for these proud, noble animals that have worked with man for thousands of years. Keep up the good work Declan and may you be an inspiration to many others.