Horse News

Justice Handed Down in EU Horsemeat Scandal

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Selten was found guilty of committing fraud using forged invoices and forged labels…

EU Horsemeat MessWhoops, that horsemeat got in our beef products by mistake, protested the man responsible for a fraud perpetrated across Europe that led to the recall of thousands of tons of meat. But the “whoops” defense wasn’t convincing to a Dutch court that on Tuesday sentenced the man, Willy Selten, to two and a half years in prison.

Selten, who is now bankrupt, owned two wholesalers that together purchased and processed the horsemeat in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, genetic tests determined that hamburger sold in two British supermarkets, including the giant chain Tesco, contained traces of horsemeat. After that, products sold as beef but containing horsemeat were discovered and pulled from shelves in France and Holland.

Selten argued in court that the “mislabeling” of the products was inadvertent. “Mistakes were made in our bookkeeping,” which ended up with the wrong labels being affixed to the wrong products, he said at one point. But the court shot that excuse down by noting that the company had no records indicating it had ever purchased horsemeat at all. So, how could any horsemeat have gotten into beef products by mistake? Prosecutors presented evidence that Selten’s companies had purchased more than 300 tons of horsemeat and sold it to more than 500 European companies.

Selten was found guilty of committing fraud using forged invoices and forged labels.

Consumption of horsemeat is rare in the United States, and there are no horses slaughtered here for human consumption (though we do ship some horses for slaughter in Mexico and Canada). But there are enough horseeaters in Europe to sustain slaughterhouses there, even including in Britain, where very few people eat horse. Of course, even people who are OK with eating horse aren’t OK with buying what they think is beef, only to find out later that it’s horsemeat.

Through his actions, Selten “contributed to a negative image for the Dutch meat industry and damaged the sector’s interests,” the court ruled.

It would have been perfect if the judge had asked Willy Selten why he sold horsemeat, and he had answered “Because it’s there,” but there’s no indication that this happened.

9 replies »

  1. One dirty scum behind bars for a little while is good but usually for every one criminal in a scam like this … there are many others involved that are just as guilty if not more so. Is the Dutch government just making a token arrest/conviction to pacify the public or are there more lined up for conviction?


  2. Should anyone be surprised. I believe this fellow is only the tip of the iceberg. When the Europeans that ate the contaminated horse meat start dying of cancer and illness I hope they don’t try and put the blame on us. We have warned them over and over again. Today I sent second request to the President of the Parliament of the European Union to send me the regulations regarding the slaughter of all equines. How in the World can they verify health records when importing to these countries when the auction houses cannot give a perspective buyer any information on the horse(s) you are trying to buy there. I have read debating information on what horses can or cannot be excepted. I have read that no foals, yearlings, pregnant mares or skinny/emaciated horses can be accepted. However, I have heard to the contrary. I called all the members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee requesting them to get the transportation bills out of committee. This can be such a long process if there is no push. So all you Horse Warriors out there get the list off the internet. There are about 23 or 24 members. We further need final legislation that will completely close off our borders to the foreigners trying to import US horses and other equines.


  3. If this happened in the Beef industry. Oh wait it did. If this was Illegal. Oh wait it was. If this man was honest….well that would be a real stretch wouldnt it? This is the face of horse slaughter plants. This represents the lengths they will go to. So for instance they manipulate Americas horses to slaughter…they ship that meat to countries who already had too much meat so what way do they dispose of all the meat that no one is buying? Well Food Fraud. In other words the market for the horsemeat is disguising itself. Its not a real market. The trade of horsemeat butchers is coming to a close in many countries. The demand is Not there. The shove of horses into the plants is ridiculous. Where is the meat really going? Honesty aside….we may never know.


  4. And it was likely horse meat from America. If they could see the condition of some of the horses, particularly the yearlings, they would be sickened. These fillies/colts may not have been given banned substances, but they are often embedded with ticks or other parasites. The older “healthier” horses may be plump, but are likely full if banned substances such as phyenobarbital. It is highly deceptive for American horses to cross the borders to Mexico & Canada, their contaminated flesh sold to unsuspecting Europeans for their consumption. You won’t even find horse meat in dog food in the US.


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