MADRID May 29 Police have arrested five people
for allegedly selling horses that were not supposed to be used
for food to slaughterhouses after falsifying their public health
documents, Spain's interior ministry said on Thursday.
The arrests came after police inspected 17 private or
commercial ranches, veterinary clinics and slaughterhouses in
nine different provinces across Spain, including eastern
Valencia and the capital, Madrid.
Some of the people detained were connected to a similar raid
in France last December, the ministry said in a statement. Then,
French police arrested 21 people on suspicion that horses used
to develop medicines were sold fraudulently for food.
At the time of the arrests in France, public prosecutors
said there was no evidence of a threat to human health, and a
spokesman for Spain's Guardia Civil - the national gendarmerie -
said on Thursday that no health warning was being issued.
The spokesman did not know whether the horses had been
purchased from companies that used them to incubate antibodies
to manufacture serums, as happened in France.
The investigation, coordinated by Spanish police with help
from the French gendarmerie and EU judicial cooperation agency
Eurojust, is still open and could lead to further arrests, the
The Guardia Civil said the horsemeat was correctly labelled
as such when it was sold to consumers. A Europe-wide scandal
last year saw horsemeat mislabelled as beef sold in supermarket
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and