Florence

Italian police bust illegal horse-butchering ring

Establishment kept retired racehorses in 'precarious' conditions

Italian police bust illegal horse-butchering ring

Florence, September 13 - Italian police said on Friday that they had busted an illegal ring in which retired racehorses were butchered for human consumption. Officers found eight adult horses and two foals in "precarious conditions, malnourished and without surveillance" in a poorly-kept establishment located in a wooded area in Tuscany near the town of San Donato in Poggio. The owner of the property was cited and fined 2,500 euros. The horses have been handed over to the State veterinary department. Investigations that led police to the illegal establishment began when a horse carcass without an identifying microchip was discovered near the makeshift farm. "The practice of butchering retired competition horses is widespread throughout the region (of Tuscany) and often involves small landowners using their property for illegal raising and breeding," a note from the police said. Horsemeat is widely consumed in Italy, but subject to national regulations controlling its production.

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