A Web of Lies – Horsemeat Production in Argentina

A new documentary by Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) and Tierschutzbund Zürich (TSB) shows the criminal structures, corruption and manipulation behind horsemeat production in Argentina. The people and institutions involved in the trade with stolen horses have been the same for many years. For over two decades, Argentinian media have been reporting on the mafia-style machinations of the slaughterhouses, assembly centre operators, horse rustlers and corrupt employees within SENASA and the police. Eight years after the first investigation of AWF|TSB in Argentina, the abuse of horses continues on the same level. The animals suffer at assembly centres, during transport and at EU-approved slaughterhouses. Injured and sick horses are left to die unassisted. Horses are stolen from people’s private properties and sold for slaughter. The Argentinian traceability system is unreliable, since it relies solely on horse owners’ and dealers’ declarations.

Audits are systematically manipulated. The European auditors are presented empty assembly centres or horses in good physical condition. An entire herd of horses can be very quickly swapped. European importers, with their “Respectful Life” marketing platform, are allowing themselves to be duped by the cheap tricks of the horse dealers and slaughterhouse operators. The inspectors of the EU Commission have also been misled for years, but they have ultimately come to realise that the audits are being manipulated. It is time for the EU Commission to convert these insights into action so that the web of lies can be untangled and torn down.

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