The custody of the four horses that had been illegally taken to a slaughterhouse in Correggio, in the province of Reggio Emilia, was handed over to IHP.
On 6 June, the NAS unit in Parma and the veterinary unit of the Ausl in Reggio Emilia has assessed and reported a fraud, whose victims were 4 horses imported from France after a life spent in the racing industry. The animals ended up in an illegal network, passing from one owner to another for three times after being brought to Italy. These transfers of ownership—aided by our current horse registry and traceability system which is absolutely inadequate, as IHP has been denouncing for years—ended up with the creation of fake passports and the horse status changed like magic: from the ‘excluded from slaughter’ status (i.e. not intended for food, as they had been used in the horseracing industry and thus received medical treatments) to the ‘certified for slaughter’ status. Luckily for them, the owner of the slaughterhouse got suspicious and asked for a verification by the Asl, which resulted in their immediate seizure.
IHP immediately contacted the relevant Authorities, declaring our willingness to take legal custody of the animals in order to get them out of the slaughterhouse: this operation was far from simple and obvious considering that the normal practice of our health system is that once animals enter a slaughterhouse they can’t get out alive (although this is not covered by any rule).
The Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Novara accepted our request and tomorrow, 1st September, IHP will finally move the horses to a safe place.
“This story is nothing but another example of how horses are a world in itself, where illegality is favoured by a fake registry system that often makes it impossible to control and trace their movements”, declares Sonny Richichi, President of IHP. "To make horses ‘disappear’ into thin air is easier than it seems and we have repeatedly reported this during our investigations. However, the institutions simply do not listen to our appeals, despite the numerous scandals related to the marketing of meat obtained from illegal or fraudulent slaughter, and it would have happened also in this case. Moreover, the meat of these horses—definitely contaminated by the drugs used for medical treatments in the horseracing industry and absolutely prohibited for human consumption—would have ended up on the counter of some butcher shop posing a very high risk for human health.
"For our part, we will continue to take forward with renewed vigour our commitment against the slaughter of horses and for their approval as companion animals", concludes Richichi.
Horses legally seized at Correggio (RE) - action to save them from slaughter