‘British supermarkets have been selling horse meat to consumers for years without knowing it, so what else has been on sale? They will have no idea unless they specifically test for it.’

Spain Confirms Stray Dogs Used to Manufacture Pet Food & Animal Feed

‘British supermarkets have been selling horse meat to consumers for years without knowing it, so what else has been on sale? They will have no idea unless they specifically test for it.’

Laboratory DNA analysis confirms that dogs were used to make ingredients used in pet food and animal feed brands. An investigation in Spain uncovered an underground network of criminals involved in feed manufacture, tanneries, animal shelters, kennels involved in a heinous practice of using the corpses of sick and abandoned animals in the production of pet food. At least 40 pet food and animal feed companies are involved, with some products sold internationally.

Stray dogs, animals from sanctuaries, vets and zoos used for food

For years locals complained about the stench of rotting corpses coming from a warehouse used to store feed ingredients. Acting on inside information, officials in Spain uncovered an organized group involved in taking stray dogs, sick and abandoned pets from shelters, euthanized pets from veterinarians, diseased livestock, horses, zoo animals to be sold for making pet food and animal feed ingredients. At least eleven people are involved in the plot, which include transporters, tanneries and other companies linked to the animal world.

15 tons of dead dogs

Last May, investigators found two warehouses in Spain that were being used as clandestine warehouses for storing the animal corpses. One contained 15 tons of dead animals, most of them dogs. Similar gruesome discoveries were made in other locations in Spain.

Investigators also uncovered a human society diverting the corpses of cats and dogs brought to them for proper disposal to the animal feed makers. In one kennel, three freezers filled with the bodies of 52 dogs, 15 cats, and vehicles loaded dead pets were believed destined for the feed mills. Numerous other “irregularities” in the management of dead animals in veterinary clinics, kennels and equestrian centers were also discovered.

Mass graves

The motive for the sickening scheme was the profit to be made from using dead pets to make feed while saving the cost of transporting the corpses to an incinerator. According to reports they took the bodies of dogs and other animals from the streets, animal sanctuaries, vets, zoos and farms, hell you-name-it awaiting incineration, and processed them instead into “animal protein” and “animal fat” that could be sold to pet food and animal feed manufacturers. When selling dead pets and diseased livestock or burning them to a crisp wasn’t possible or convenient, it is believed that thousands of animal corpses were buried in remote places in mass graves. Officials in Spain also blame the problem in the lack of oversight and the fuzzy classification of mixing of animal species sent to processing plants to make pet food ingredients.

Dogs in the food chain

Authorities in Spain have not ruled out the possibility that protein or fats from the carcasses may even have been used in some processed human food. Using stray dogs and sick animals, including those from zoos, puts the food chain at risk, according to molecular biologist Montse Espiñeira. It could cause a disaster similar to the “Mad Cow” crisis, she warned. It is “beyond all logic” to use dead dogs to feed cattle which is eventually eaten by humans, Espiñeira said.

Forced cannibalism

The revelation raises questions about all meat products, whether for humans or animals, especially given the same-species implications (otherwise known as forced cannibalism) of the ongoing Spanish investigation. Experts and criminals alike know that by the time meat becomes “animal protein”, “animal fat”, and “meat and bone meal” traceability all but breaks down, especially in the pet and animal feed markets where not much, if any, attention is paid to the crimes occurring in that market. Food safety officials have their hands full with sorting out the horse meat in the human food chain across the EU without being bothered about a few (tons) of stray dogs in Spain.

As Britain’s Food Standards Agency points out, it is aware of the investigation, but admits, ‘We are currently not testing food for meat from dogs. Our priority is to test beef products for gross contamination with horse meat because that is where the problem clearly is.’

British supermarkets have been selling horse meat to consumers for who knows how long without knowing it, so what else has been on sale? The public may never know for certain unless the government and consumer groups specifically test for it.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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