Brazilian officials uncover ‘hundreds of tons’ of illegal horse meat from illegal slaughterhouses

Brazilian officials said Monday that a regional gang sold horses and other livestock to slaughterhouses disguised as beef by using an illegal additive, a type of meat known as trotter and heartworm parasitic secretions.

The ranchers who supplied them have gone into hiding after the officers raided seven slaughterhouses that exported beef to Asia, Argentina and Vietnam, Animal Protection Institute inspector Claudio Abreu told the Associated Press.

“The tule de lard was no secret. Even the animals themselves could smell it. They were concealing cattle’s blood in the stock, and as soon as they arrived in China, they were cooked,” Abreu said, the AP reported.

Animal welfare officials are still trying to verify the exact quantity of the illegal meat. In the South American country, up to a million horses and hogs are slaughtered every year.

Brazil is a hotbed of illegal horse slaughter in search of high profits, according to the AP.

The tons of horse meat were mixed with beef and sent to third countries in August and September last year, Abreu said.

Abreu told Brazil’s Gol website that some of the boats were frickin’ horse ships.

“We carried out over 75 searches. We found a lot of product which was illegal. We expect to make more discoveries,” Abreu said.

“The owners are in hiding. They’re afraid that we will discover the crime, the method, the tons of product that they reaped from other people’s sweat and tears,” he added.

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