Horse News

France makes 21 arrests in new horsemeat scandal


Narbonne (France) (AFP) – French police made 21 arrests Monday as part of a probe into claims horsemeat used to help produce anti-rabies and other serums ended up on people’s plates.

The case sparked immediate health concerns but prosecutors were quick to quell fears, saying there was no evidence the meat was harmful based on toxicology tests.

It follows a Europe-wide health scare earlier this year when horsemeat was found in millions of ready meals labelled as containing only beef.

The arrests were made at various locations in the south of France following a tip-off that 200 horses, including 60 that had been owned by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, ended up in abattoirs after their veterinary papers were falsified, a police source told AFP.

More than 100 officers were involved in raids at several Sanofi offices and at various abattoirs, including one in Gerona in northern Spain.

Among those arrested were four vets and 13 meat dealers, including one based in Narbonne, southwestern France, who is suspected of being the ringleader of the illicit trade, prosecutors and police sources said.

A forger who faked health certificates for the horses was also involved.

Brice Robin, the prosecutor in the southern city of Marseille dealing with the case, said Sanofi — which sold its animals to a horse dealer — had done so “in an entirely legal manner”.

The drug firm said it was cooperating with the investigation into “possible fraud” but played down the possibility of a threat to human health.

It said the horses had been used to provide blood for the manufacture of serums against tetanus and rabies and stressed they had not been used for drugs testing.

“The horses are all micro-chipped for traceability and they do not present any danger in the event of human consumption,” a spokesman said.

“It is specified in their sales certificates that these horses are not to be introduced to the food chain, but that is as a precautionary measure, not because there is any danger.”

Earlier Monday, consumer affairs minister Benoit Hamon had raised the alarm, saying this case was potentially more worrying than the labelling scandal earlier this year, which centred on French company Spanghero.

“It’s different. In this case there could be a health problem,” Hamon told RTL radio.

But Robin said there was “absolutely no evidence through toxicology tests that these animals were harmful to human health.”

Eating horsemeat is regarded as taboo in some European countries, notably Britain, but is still widespread in Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, although consumption is in long-term decline.

17 replies »

  1. When will they wake up and realize that 170,000 US unregulated, largely adulterated horses with mostly fabricated drug affidavits are entering the foreign food chains – yearly?


  2. Among those arrested were four vets and 13 meat dealers, including one based in Narbonne, southwestern France, who is suspected of being the ringleader of the illicit trade, prosecutors and police sources said.

    A forger who faked health certificates for the horses was also involved.

    Blech. Human nature at its ugliest. What a cast of characters. I cringe to think of voiceless animals subject to these kinds of human behaviors with no protection. I’m sure it could happen here as well.


  3. The quotes are obscene to me; downplaying the seriousness of the horsemeat situation.

    It shows that the horsemeat “trade” is RIDDLED with fraud and our food purveyors are risking our health.

    This situation is a perfect example of the fallacy of ALL paperwork on equines, with one exception… addition to the falsified passports, the sales contract specifically forbids sending the equines into the food system….let’s see who gets prosecuted and how severe the penalties are.


    • Yes, Exactly! ” the horsemeat trade is riddled with fraud and food purveyors are
      risking our health”. Again, Bill C-322 is moving forward in Ottawa March 2014
      Hopefully, U.S horses won’t continue being butchered in Canada’s 5 registered
      slaughter plants. Disgusting, cruel practice is NOT wanted here by majority of taxpayers. Our PM Harper and Agriculture Minister Ritz have got to go.
      Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( CFIA ) = Can’t Find Inspector Anywhere


  4. I find the act of using these horses for lab work repulsive. What happened to them afterwards horrific, and being eaten by the French, poetic justice.


  5. KARMA !!!!!!! When peoples horrific Greed starts messing with the Food Supply, it wont be long until the is stopped completely……………………Eating horses is horrible thing to do , its unnatural to begin with, the Higher Power has found the way to Stop the atrocities against his most beautiful Gift to mankind !!!THE HORSE !!!!!


  6. I suppose it goes without saying that it is somehow tolerable that this business draned the blood from these horses for a certain peripod of time, and then when wasted – sent them to slaughter. Is there antyhing about this that bothers anyone? Then there is the remarkable statement that even though the horses were not to go to slaughter – they doid – because the law really was just a precaution, not an absolute. Maybe we need a bigger alarm clock?


  7. Using living beings as mere objects or commodities is unfathomable and highly demoralizing. These corrupt individuals will eventually get what’s coming to them. I do like the part in the last sentence of this article however indicating that horsemeat consumption is in long-term decline!


  8. Lies, lies, lies everywhere we look and do “THEY” do anything about the corruption? No, because “THEY” are the ones doing it.

    Yes Ida, but even with so-called “protection”, it is happening here.

    ‘ “In January, the manager of the agency’s corral in Burns, Ore., emailed superiors in Washington, D.C., to ask what to do with 29 mares, almost all of which were pregnant. Spencer replied that Davis would take them. In March, a corral manager emailed Spencer to say he had 92 “nice horses” just rounded up in High Rock, Calif., and to ask if Davis could take some of the geldings. Freshly captured horses in the Stone Cabin Valley of Nevada wait in a BLM corral to be trucked to the holding system. (Dave Philipps) A day later Spencer replied, “Davis told me that if the geldings are in good shape he will be able to place them into good homes.” “How many would Mr. Davis want to buy?” the corral manager asked Spencer. “And are there any specifics that he is looking for?” “He said he’d be interested in all of them, no specifics,” Spencer replied.’

    In 2011 Sally Spencer was paid:
    $126,251.00 with a $1,820.00 “bonus”
    In 2012 Sally Spencer was paid $133,264.00


  9. Seems nobody ever gets prosecuted for all the crimes committed against horses…wild or domestic. These slimy bastards get away with murder. They operate under the radar and every once and awhile someone gets busted…like this situation in France. But they haven’t been prosecuted yet. I certainly don’t have the answers…. But someday I look forward to the guilty going down for crimes committed against horses…especially the wild ones and in our country. Does any one ever believe that will happen?? Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein… “No problem can be solved with the same level of consciousness that created it.” just needed to vent….


  10. 200 horses used in the pharmaceutical industry that were illegally dumped by falsifying papers is nothing new and sadly has probably been a regular practice of many drug companies. The 60 horses that Sanofi used for blood samples should have been placed with homes after serving their “usefulness” to the drug industry. The same practices occurred with Greyhounds in the U.S.. The dogs were being taken off the track and used by pharmaceutical companies for blood draws. After 2 years they were then being euthanized after their “usefulness” was finished. Greyhound groups worked with the pharmaceutical companies to find loving homes for these dogs after a period of foster care. The only difference was that the Greyhounds weren’t ending up in the food chain.
    It would be interesting to know the breed of the horses that Sanofi was using. Many companies use draft horses or draft crosses for these types of activities because they are easier to dump into the food chain and fewer questions are asked about their welfare and origins.
    Despite the disgust of the practice of using horses for profit and then dumping them like byproducts and breaking the law in the process, the idea that there is a whole black market associated with falsifying papers for illegally disposing of possibly tainted livestock can only add more fear and concern for the food chain. I hope the French authorities stick to their investigation, I fear they have only scratched the surface of the corruption that lurks within the food processing industry.


  11. I did a little checking on google to find out if Muslims eat horse meat. It seems that they don’t, they also don’t eat pork if the articles knew what they were talking about. That could be the reason that horse meat consumption has dropped in the EU is because there are so many Muslims living in all of the EU countries. Along with the fact that the younger generation don’t eat much of it unlike their parents or grandparents.


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