Editor's note: Roly Owers is chief executive of World Horse Welfare and a qualified veterinarian with a lifetime of involvement with horses. He is active in working with governments, sport regulators, veterinary bodies and non-profit organizations to improve horse welfare worldwide.
A welcome spotlight is now being shone on the murky trade in European horsemeat, but the public are still being left in the dark about the brutal treatment and needless suffering of the horses destined for their plates.
Every year around 65,000 horses are crammed into trucks and transported across Europe to the slaughterhouse for what can be days on end in hellish conditions.
French prosecutors are investigating how horse meat was sold as beef, the country's consumer affairs minister said Thursday.
The announcement comes as UK inspectors said that horse carcasses contaminated with an equine painkiller harmful to humans may have entered the food chain in France.
A number of meat plants that handled the horse meat as it made its way through the food chain are facing questions about what they knew and whether fraud was involved.
Police and health officials have raided a slaughterhouse and meat company in the United Kingdom as part of an ongoing investigation into horse meat that was labeled as beef, authorities said Tuesday.
The West Yorkshire slaughterhouse is believed to have supplied horse carcasses to a firm called Farmbox Meats Ltd., which then sold the meat as beef for kebabs and burgers.
Chef Toshio Tanabe serves up a a $110 dirt dinner at his French-inspired, Tokyo-based restaurant Ne Quittez Pas. CNN's Alex Zolbert digs in and puts the mud where his mouth is.
High-stakes lawsuits, overlapping investigations and a bitter battle over blame are spreading across Europe in the wake of a scandal that has rocked the meat industry.
French-inspired, Tokyo-based restaurant Ne Quittez Pas has been serving a soil-themed menu, but chef Toshio Tanabe is hardly the first person to dish up dirt to his clientele. Watch the video for a brief history of dirt eating, from gargouillou to geophagy.
The discovery of horse DNA in hamburgers on sale at supermarkets in Ireland and Britain is testing the appetite of meat lovers there.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said Tuesday that 10 out of 27 hamburger products it analyzed in a study were found to contain horse DNA, and 23 of them tested positive for pig DNA.
The horse-tainted burgers, on sale at several different supermarket chains, came from two meat processing plants in Ireland and one in Britain, the Irish authority said.