A joint Guardia Civil and Europol operation has dismantled a criminal gang that illegally marketed horses to be slaughtered for meat that was not fit to be eaten.
35 people have been arrested for their part in a racket that generated €4.5 million.
Those involved in the scam included slaughterhouse owners and vets who signed fake papers.
The ringleader ran a livestock facility in Valencia Province and since 2019, he bought horses from around Spain.
He paid up to €100 for a sick horse and sometimes nothing at all.
His resale price was €1,500 per animal.
Guardia officers rescued 80 horses from the Valencia farm with none of the animals getting any kind of veterinary care.
One of them was so ill, that it had to be put down.
The registration of the animals was manipulated with false documents produced stating that their meat was safe to be consumed after slaughter.
Once the farm owner had a full quota of horses, he sold them across the European Union to countries including Germany, Italy, and Belgium, where six people were arrested.
The Guardia Civil said they intercepted half a ton of unsuitable horse meat that was destined for butchers’ shops.
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