Horsemeat: The Insider Spotlight


Horsemeat: The Insider

In an exclusive report, Jennifer O'Leary investigates a criminal conspiracy to export horses unfit for human consumption into the food chain.


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Transcript


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disturbing. Two weeks ago, Spotlight made

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contact with a man who said he was part of a long-running criminal

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conspiracy, a fraud which exploits weaknesses in the system for

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exporting horsemeat into the human food chain. A fraud which has a

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direct bearing on the European food crisis.

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Why is it important that what you are involved with get out? Why?

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Number one would be the health and safety of people, 4G would be day

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cruelty that goes on behind closed doors. The man we interviewed said

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he was at the heart of that criminal operation. By speaking to

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us, he says he is putting himself in danger. Tonight on Spotlight,

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his inside story of the criminal Over the past two months, the

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scandal of untraceable horse meat in processed food has plunged the

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European food industry into crisis. The Prime Minister has issued a

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stern warning to any 100 and passing of horsemeat of -- passing

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of horsemeat as beef. Thousands of samples are to be tested for

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horsemeat. Three men were arrested earlier this evening on suspicion

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of fraud as part of the investigation into horsemeat being

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labelled as beef. Politicians in the UK and Republic

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of Ireland attempted to contain the problem by pointing out meat

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products are fundamentally safe and that the system for tracing horses

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and horsemeat is working. This, for the moment, is a labelling problem,

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an issue of fraud. There is a full investigation going on as to how

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the imported additives got into the system and where they would come

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from. But tonight, we can reveal that the system for slaughtering

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horses and processing their meat has been corrupted and exploited by

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a small group of individuals based in Northern Ireland and the

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Republic. Several days ago, Spotlight made contact with a man

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who claims to have been an insider in that conspiracy. We interviewed

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him on two separate occasions. He cannot be identified, because he

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fears for his safety, but during those interviews, he gave a

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detailed account of how the fraud work. He started by telling us how,

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over the last four years, large numbers of Irish horses were

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purchased cheaply across the country by a small group of people.

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Where did the horses come from? Anywhere, everywhere, moreover we

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could get them. Good, bad, indifferent, it did not matter.

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you buy them at markets? Some were born there, somewhat out and around

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the country, a lot of them born -- bought a round the country.

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Whereabouts? Around farms and places, people did not want them,

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or could not afford them. After the economic crisis, there

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was no shortage of people, north and south of the border, willing to

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sell horses they could no longer afford to keep.

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Did anyone ever ask you why you were so interested in buying up

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their horse? People knew. They did not know they were going to a

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factory, but thought they were going for dog food. They never

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thought they were going into human food? No. Definitely not.

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Most of the horses bought by the gang across Ireland were on the

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face of it of little value. Horses which have proper documentation can

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demand a higher price, often several hundred pounds, when sent

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to slaughter, but need a document called a horse passport. It shows

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the provenance of the horse and, crucially, its medication history.

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And horses born since 2009 also need a microchip implanted under

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their skin and the cheque number is recorded in the passport. This they

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it says that, in theory, this system should allow any horse to be

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properly identified. How the system works is that, since 2009, it is a

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requirement when an owner applies for a passport that a horse has a

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microchip present. That is always inserted in the left-hand side of

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the neck, so it can be read in that position with a particular scanning

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device. And so, since 2009, every horse that has a passport issued

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for them would also have a matching microchip and microchip number that

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can be read with this device and it is also to be found on the document

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linked with that animal, so it should be a unique way of

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identifying who this horse is and provide information about the

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animal. That is the theory, but in practice,

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the scam was simpler. They should always be a vet who inserts a

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microchip in the horse and fills out the passport. The gang simply

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did it themselves, inserting bogus microchips into the animal and

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forging horse passports to match them. The end I eight -- the

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insider says it happened on an industrial scale. In the trade,

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horse passports are known as books. They had a bag full of new books.

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But some horses needed to have a microchip? What happened in that

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case? They were inserted. How could that happen? Like an injection.

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you ever cook chips into horses? Yes. But that has a number, how

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does that work? You get the scanner and read it. And write the new

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number into the passport? Yes. This meant that horses bought at

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markets, or from farmers, for less than �50 were now worth several

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hundred pounds when sold to abattoirs licensed to slaughter for

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export abroad for human consumption. It was a licence to print money.

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All we needed was horses, lots of them.

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If there were about horses, you would get 16 on it, big and small,

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you could even put 25, 26 horses. pack in as much as you can? Yes.

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How much would you have paid for a fool lorry in total? Not much more

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than �1,000 for them. The scam was lucrative, a lorry-load of horses,

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costing no more than once �1,000 to buy, but fetching far more when

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sold to an abattoir to be slaughtered for human consumption.

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How much money we are you taking home? The average cheque would run

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into about �5,000, something like that. And how much would be given

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to you? You get �1,000. That is great money. Yes.

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The money may have been good, but as time went on, the insider began

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to see the cost of the criminal operation. Cruelty on a massive

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scale. The gang were gathering large groups of horses together

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before taking into England. But there were so many are waiting

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transport, for long periods, horses would get no food, shelter or water.

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He told us about that in his first interview.

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They would be starving for weeks on end and in the bad weather.

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Eventually, we thought about going around then, gathering their mark,

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but there would be none of them there. -- gathering them up, but

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there would be none of them and we could not get to them. Tell me

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about the horses that did not make it to the journey, what happened to

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them? There were horses that did not make the journey, but others

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:08:45.:08:48.

did not make the journey... The insider pointed as to a

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location where he said horses had died. These photographs taken

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ashore horse bones have submerged in the ground. One of the most

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disturbing revelations from the insider is that horses were

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regularly administered them a beautiful, known as bute, and be

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The drugs would either be given in a horse's food or sometimes by

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injection. Tell me about the horses that were

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being transported, because they were cheap horses, they must not

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have been in the best of shape. Some were not, but to stimulate

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them and get them up on your feet again, you would give them seven

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cortisone and bute. Bute is banned for human consumption and an EU law.

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However, the current scientific consensus is that, even if

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horsemeat containing bute has passed into the food chain, the

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risk to humans is low. Bute has been around for a long

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time, widely roost, but some research showed a small number of

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cases, people, humans, suffered from a particularly serious ailment

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of the bone marrow. -- widely used. Act out of anaemia, average your

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body switches off the production of red blood cells and it can be fatal

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in some cases. But it was a very small number of cases that that

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happened. Our insiders says that, in some

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cases, horses were given bute just hours before being slaughtered.

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a horse had a heart beat and could walk on its four Lex, you would

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stand up on that Lawrie until he got to England. What would make

:10:51.:11:00.
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that horse stand better and manage that trip? Bute. It was 16-18 hours.

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There is no direct evidence that even this could harm human health,

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but it does raise other concerns. That would be extremely bad news,

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because the drug administered to the animal, immediately before

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slaughter, means there will be high concentrations of the drug present

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in the horse and those residues will make their way into the food

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supply chain. For this professor, one of the biggest issues is that

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we simply do not know what we are eating. This probably, from an

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international standing, is probably one of the biggest issues we have

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seen in relation to the Trust of that the supply chain we have

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witnessed since B S E. What the insider told Spotlight over the

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last two weeks has cast serious doubt on the security of the horse

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passport system, a system set up to protect consumers when it comes to

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how horsemeat enters the human food chain. What he says would suggest

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that horse passports are wide open Janice is chairperson of racehorse

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sanctuary and she says her organisation has been concerned

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about the disposal of low-value Irish horses for several years.

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Most of them were being shipped across the Irish Sea to be

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slaughtered and are then most of that meat was supposed to be going

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to the Continent. However, we knew that the people we were working

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with, the sheer numbers who were going through these yards, and the

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numbers of export and import figures were not matching up. Where

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were these horses going? believes the movement of so many

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horses was only possible because the horse passport system has been

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abused on a massive scale. A lot of the people who it is aimed at

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policing, basically, are laughing up their sleeve at it because they

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know nobody in authority is really bothering themselves to check

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passports. When we ask people if we can see a passport if they will

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rummage in their van and they will say, what colour is it? We will

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tell them and they have every colour and type of bogus passports

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which they will pull out and start to complete in front of you. It is

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a total farce. And also at the ports, why our passports not being

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checked? People will get a lorry which pulls up and they will handle

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-- hand over a number of passports and the tailgate will be lowered so

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that they can do a head count of how many horses in the lorry but no

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passport is matched up to an individual horse on that lorry. You

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could have any horses going through with any passport and the -- the

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passports may look legitimate but the horses are not. Our insider

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said checks at the ports never posed a problem for him.

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Were you ever stopped? Never. anyone ever poor you win and say

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why are you driving back big load of horses? Never. I wanted to ask

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the minister at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development,

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Michelle O'Neill, about how lax the system appeared to be. She was not

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available but the department did put forward the chief veterinary

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officer. The control at the port was a head count first as the horse

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passport. Horses were not unloaded. There is no place to unload them.

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And there is no -- it is not safe to unload them. We did the best we

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could do. It just wasn't good enough. I'm sorry, you say it is

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just not good enough. What I am saying is I am looking at all of

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the ways that we might harden the system to the risk of abuse. It is

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too late. It is never too late to harden the system. The horses are

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gone, they may have entered the food chain. And we do not know

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where they have gone because they it went to England. Others were

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aware of the situation at the ports. We began to notice that there were

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certain individuals using reports on a regular basis, sometimes three

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or four times a week, taking horses out of this country and we could

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not understand why. It did not make any sense. Why would people be

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spending money moving animals which had no value? The US PCA decided to

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mount a surveillance operation. It began with this man, Lawrence

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McAllister, a horse trader from County Antrim who was making

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repeated trips to the north of England with trailer loads of Irish

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horses. When he was arrested after driving off the ferry in Scotland,

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the team had their first major breakthrough. He decided to

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transport animals which were unfit for Transport. The animals were

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suffering. They were lame and could not stand on the lorry. Bay and

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powder but Laurie. During that process they discovered 40 forged

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Irish horse passports and a box of microchips -- they impounded for

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the lorry. Our insider says McAllister was part of a wider

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criminal enterprise. In fact, he was one of the ringleaders in began

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our insider worked for, delivering horses to England which were not

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fit for human consumption. He was one of the top men. What do you

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:17:14.:17:15.

mean? He would have been in the big gang, so he would. Was he taking

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horses from Dublin or Belfast? far as I knew, he would be taking

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them out through the north, through Belfast. Lawrence McAllister was

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charged with animal cruelty and told not to work with horses. He

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did not listen. He was later stopped as a passenger in this

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lorry in Scotland carrying two horses. The vehicle was driven by

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this man, Kieran Murphy from South Armagh. But Murphy and McAllister

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were not just transporting horses. Hidden in the back of the lorry was

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a large amount of cannabis. Murphy and McAllister are now in prison in

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Scotland. McAllister was also convicted of animal cruelty rising

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from the charges on his previous trip to Scotland. Lawrence

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McAllister was caught in Scotland with drugs. Were you surprised?

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He had to do something with all the money so I suppose that is one way.

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The conviction of the two men in Scotland showed how the conspiracy

:18:23.:18:28.

was now embracing other forms of criminality but it also helped

:18:28.:18:34.

solve a riddle for the US PCA investigators. Why were so many

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low-value horses being moved to England? The answer lay in the

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answers in the lorry, fake passports and a bag of microchips.

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Now the investigators were able to join the dots and workout that the

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gang were passing and documented animals off as animals which were

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fit for human consumption. The big concern was where those animals

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were heading. This is the Red Lion abattoir in

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Nantwich, Cheshire. The US PCA said it became a place of interest to

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them and their investigation about where the Irish horses were being

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taken to for slaughter. It would also appear to be well known to our

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insider. I am going to show you a photograph.

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Can you tell me what this photograph is? It is the factory.

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We drove in. What factory? The Red Lion. We drove in around the back

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and at the back there is another intake door. We went in through the

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back in take tours. Is up a factory you delivered horses on forged

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passports? Yes. That should never have been slaughtered for the human

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food chain? Yes. Our insider says he delivered horses to Red Lion

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abattoir on multiple occasions, horses which had forged

:20:03.:20:07.

documentation and some of which had been recently administered

:20:07.:20:14.

phenylbutazone or bute. Red Lion confirmed they purchased horses

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from Ireland but insist this is done it legitimately and entirely

:20:18.:20:28.
:20:28.:20:44.

But when we asked the Food Standards Agency about who decides

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if the passport is authentic, they told us it is the company's

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responsibility to ensure they accept horses and passport which

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have been identified correctly. The FSA has also confirmed to Spotlight

:20:59.:21:03.

that there is an ongoing investigation into inconsistencies

:21:03.:21:07.

around a number of horse passports which have been used for the

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slaughter of horses at Red Lion. We asked how peak meat exports which

:21:13.:21:19.

operates Red Lion abattoir about that investigation and there

:21:19.:21:29.
:21:29.:21:45.

representative told us -- High Peak Spotlight understand that they

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passports under investigation are English horse passports. Red Lion

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to say that as far back as two years ago they did become concerned

:21:54.:21:58.

about the authenticity of horse passports coming from Ireland. So

:21:58.:22:03.

much so that they said they wrote to the FSA and the Department for

:22:03.:22:07.

the Environment, Food end rural affairs about the issue. DEFRA and

:22:07.:22:14.

the FSA confirmed they received letters in May 2007. Much has been

:22:14.:22:19.

made of these letters in the press. They have been reported as Red Lion

:22:19.:22:25.

blowing the whistle on the Irish horse meat problem but while they

:22:25.:22:29.

do refer to issues with the Irish horse passports, much of their

:22:29.:22:33.

focus is on commercial disadvantages to Red Lion, as to

:22:33.:22:37.

what they see as the over-zealous enforcement of regulations in the

:22:37.:22:42.

UK, as opposed to the regulatory regime in the Republic of Ireland.

:22:43.:22:47.

Red Lion also say they turned away hundreds of horses, many of them

:22:47.:22:52.

from Ireland, in the cases where the paperwork was inadequate. They

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gave us a specific example of when this happened, explaining on 21st

:22:58.:23:04.

February 2011, they turned away 10 horses supplied by a horse dealer

:23:04.:23:10.

in County Kildare called Mailey cash. We contacted him to ask about

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his dealings with the Red Lion's owner, Derek Turner.

:23:16.:23:20.

Mailey Cash has agreed to meet me. I am on my way to meet him at a

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horse fair. There is a specific incident we

:23:23.:23:29.

have been told about in February 2011 where there was a problem with

:23:29.:23:33.

the horse's passports and they were horses from yourself. Have you

:23:33.:23:39.

heard about that? What do you know about it? When was that? We were

:23:39.:23:49.
:23:49.:23:50.

told it was February 2011. Never. There was never a problem. It was

:23:50.:23:57.

never a problem. And you have been doing business with him since 2011?

:23:57.:24:03.

I have. When was the last time he was over to you? Cripes. It could

:24:03.:24:10.

have been a month ago. I sold him 18 horses. So why did, yes, no

:24:10.:24:16.

problem. As recently as that? To that is very strange. He was

:24:16.:24:21.

singled out as a horse dealer whose horses were turned away from Red

:24:21.:24:25.

Lion abattoir but clearly he has given a different account and what

:24:25.:24:31.

is more, he says Red Lion are among his best customers and he has been

:24:31.:24:35.

sending them horses up until a few weeks ago. His account of his

:24:35.:24:40.

business dealings with Derek Turner, the end of Red Lion abattoir seemed

:24:40.:24:46.

to be backed up by independent evidence. Last year, Hillside

:24:46.:24:51.

animal-welfare charity mounted an investigation into Red Lion,

:24:51.:24:56.

installing secret cameras inside the abattoir. In November 2012 they

:24:56.:24:59.

filmed this footage which appears to show cruelty to horses before

:24:59.:25:09.
:25:09.:25:14.

The management of Red Lion say that, whilst they do not defend any

:25:14.:25:18.

breaches, these examples were the only problems identified during

:25:18.:25:22.

filming, which recorded the slaughter of hundreds of horses.

:25:23.:25:26.

But the animal welfare charity also wanted to know where bosses were

:25:26.:25:34.

coming from, so be tracked a lorry leaving Red Lion. We filmed lorries

:25:34.:25:38.

unloading courses at the abattoir, then use a clone intelligence-

:25:38.:25:40.

gathering to see where those lorries were going and we found

:25:40.:25:47.

they were going to a horse dealer in Ireland then coming back. They

:25:47.:25:53.

were going to one South West of Dublin. The company -- the charity

:25:53.:25:58.

should us the tracking data they collected, showing the horses came

:25:58.:26:03.

here to County Kildare, this was a November 2012, almost a year and a

:26:03.:26:07.

half after Red Lion said they had turned away horses because of

:26:07.:26:14.

passport issues. We went back to Red Lion to clarify whether they

:26:14.:26:19.

still have concerns about passports supplied by Mr Cash and whether

:26:19.:26:25.

they still used him as a supplier. But they refused to answer any more

:26:25.:26:32.

questions. The export of live horses to

:26:33.:26:36.

England seems to have occurred under a passport system wide open

:26:36.:26:41.

to abuse. But tonight, we can reveal that the story does not end

:26:41.:26:46.

in equine abattoirs and the UK, in fact, there may have been problems

:26:46.:26:51.

closer to home. To understand why, you just have to look at the

:26:51.:26:58.

numbers. In the UK last year, nearly 9,500

:26:58.:27:03.

horses and officially recorded as having been slaughtered. Just under

:27:03.:27:09.

4,500 of them in Red Lion abattoirs. But last year, in the Republic of

:27:09.:27:14.

Ireland, almost 25,000 horses were slaughtered. When it came to

:27:14.:27:18.

slaughtering courses for export into the human food chain in Europe,

:27:18.:27:23.

Ireland eclipsed England by far. And every horse lot of should have

:27:23.:27:30.

had a passport. -- every horse slaughtered. Meet Charlie, by now,

:27:30.:27:34.

maybe the most famous horse in Ireland. Journalists from all over

:27:34.:27:40.

the world have wanted to meet him, because his story gets to the heart

:27:40.:27:44.

of the apparent inadequacies in the Irish passport system. Because

:27:44.:27:53.

Charlie, according to his microchip and passport, is officially dead.

:27:53.:27:57.

After Charlie was found wandering the streets of Longford Town,

:27:57.:28:01.

Hilary Robinson from a horse sanctuary was called out to rescue

:28:01.:28:07.

him. She scanned his microchip, checked official records and

:28:07.:28:10.

discovered that Charlie was recorded as having been slaughtered

:28:10.:28:20.
:28:20.:28:21.

for human consumption on the 24th March 1920 12. -- 2012.

:28:21.:28:26.

Are you surprised this happened? Knowing what I know now, no. At the

:28:26.:28:32.

time, I was surprised. We had horses that were supposed to be

:28:32.:28:35.

dead that were still alive. We told the department on numerous

:28:35.:28:40.

occasions about the whole passport issue problem, but it is only now

:28:40.:28:45.

people are starting to take notice. Hilary believes that Charlie

:28:45.:28:49.

survive for a reason. He was not large enough to be slaughtered, so

:28:49.:28:55.

his passport was used for another horse. Charlie is small in stature,

:28:55.:28:59.

so I am sure a heavier, worth more money, horse went down the chute to

:28:59.:29:06.

be slaughtered. What do you think of the Irish horse passport system

:29:06.:29:12.

caused Mark -- passport system? we say it is very loose and easy to

:29:12.:29:18.

be misused. It needs to be tighter and more affordable. Would you put

:29:18.:29:23.

an estimate on the number of Charlies out there, horses that

:29:23.:29:28.

have been slaughtered using someone else's identity? I am sure there

:29:28.:29:33.

are hundreds. We are only a small place and have found three. How

:29:33.:29:36.

many more are there across the country and across Europe?

:29:36.:29:43.

Hillary was told by the passport issuing authority that a horse

:29:43.:29:48.

holding Charlie's passport had been recorded as having been slaughtered

:29:48.:29:55.

at an abattoir. Independently, the USPCA were also concerned about

:29:55.:30:02.

this company. Acting on a tip-off, they sent a surveillance team there

:30:02.:30:06.

from the 28 until the 30th March last year, just a few days after

:30:06.:30:10.

the horse bearing Charlie's passport has been recorded as

:30:10.:30:14.

slaughtered. This video is from that surveillance operation,

:30:14.:30:19.

showing a man repeatedly beating a horse to go inside the abattoir. He

:30:19.:30:24.

does it again a few minutes later. When the horse resists, another man

:30:24.:30:29.

appears to reverse a machine towards it. The other man then

:30:29.:30:36.

ushers it inside the abattoir. We informed the company of this

:30:36.:30:40.

footage and asked them to comment. The denied that any of horses had

:30:41.:30:45.

been treated cruelly prior to slaughter. The County Council also

:30:45.:30:50.

confirmed that a vet was pleasant - - was present at the plant on that

:30:50.:30:53.

day. We told the county council about

:30:53.:30:58.

this footage and asked for a comment, but it is not -- but they

:30:58.:31:03.

did not respond. The council said it was not aware of any breach of

:31:03.:31:06.

legislation that would give any cause of concern to the public or

:31:06.:31:09.

the council. There is no evidence that of horses

:31:10.:31:15.

in this footage did not have proper documentation, but there is

:31:15.:31:18.

evidence that concerns had been raised last year in an e-mail to

:31:19.:31:23.

the authorities in the UK about alleged issues with horse passports

:31:23.:31:29.

in this company. This is the e-mail sent to DEFRA in

:31:29.:31:34.

the UK last March. It was written by a whistleblower in Ireland,

:31:34.:31:38.

passed it to someone associated with Red Lion abattoir. That person

:31:39.:31:43.

for readied be e-mailed to DEFRA. We cannot substantiate the serious

:31:43.:31:48.

allegations in his e-mail, which were passed on to the authorities

:31:48.:31:53.

by someone working for a competitor, but a detailed, naming individuals

:31:53.:31:57.

associated, and alleging illegal practices which the whistleblower

:31:57.:32:02.

says should be investigated. We know DEFRA has received this e-mail,

:32:02.:32:07.

because they have confirmed it. We asked DEFRA if they acted on this

:32:07.:32:11.

e-mail. They said it would be normal practice when receiving

:32:11.:32:16.

allegations of this kind for them to alert the Irish Department of

:32:16.:32:21.

Agriculture. So we asked the Department of Agriculture here in

:32:21.:32:26.

Dublin if they had received those allegations. They said they were

:32:26.:32:29.

not aware of them, but the department told us it has

:32:29.:32:35.

possession of a number of horse passports removed from the premises

:32:35.:32:39.

of the alleged company and that those are being examined as part of

:32:39.:32:44.

a wider examination -- investigation. The company said

:32:44.:32:48.

their blood is operated in accordance with all legislation.

:32:48.:32:51.

They also serve the plant is not the subject of any complaint from

:32:51.:32:56.

any of the relevant authorities and denied the allegations in the e-

:32:56.:33:01.

mail sent to DEFRA. Spotlight has also discovered that

:33:02.:33:04.

solicitors for the company have threatened to underrate Robinson

:33:04.:33:09.

with libel proceedings, because they say she has been suggesting

:33:09.:33:14.

another horse was deliberately passed off as Charlie. -- Fred and

:33:14.:33:20.

Hilary Robinson. They denied the company had never had any record of

:33:20.:33:25.

all horse with Charlie's passport. But there was confirmation that the

:33:25.:33:30.

passport was returned and there is no awareness of any circumstances

:33:30.:33:35.

that would happen for any other purpose than to report -- and to

:33:35.:33:37.

record the War Horse as having been slaughtered.

:33:37.:33:43.

The big question, of course, is who knew about the trade of Irish or

:33:43.:33:47.

Cezanne false passports and when? As we have discovered, several

:33:47.:33:51.

Government agencies have been aware for longer than you might find.

:33:51.:33:55.

Spotlight understands that, in November 2011, a multi-agency

:33:55.:34:00.

meeting was held at Aintree Racecourse. One of the subjects

:34:00.:34:05.

discussed was the problem of horse passports and the transport of low

:34:05.:34:09.

Matt Duke Irish horses to English abattoirs. The meeting was attended

:34:09.:34:15.

by representatives from DEFRA, the SS PCA, officials from trading

:34:16.:34:21.

standards, the World Horse Welfare Trust and officials from the

:34:21.:34:23.

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland.

:34:23.:34:29.

The fact that horse passports more discussed would this -- were

:34:29.:34:32.

discussed would suggest that as far back as two years ago all these

:34:32.:34:38.

agencies knew there was a problem. To actually get all those agencies

:34:38.:34:43.

into one room and talking was a major achievement by someone.

:34:43.:34:47.

Secondly, it would need to be a really important issue to get of

:34:47.:34:51.

those agencies together and talking at the same time. And the third

:34:51.:34:54.

thing is that when that meeting was over the people leaving that

:34:54.:34:57.

meeting, within their own departments, had a responsibility

:34:58.:35:02.

to tidy up and check out anything alleged which fell under their

:35:02.:35:06.

responsibility. We do not believe that happened and I would go so far

:35:06.:35:12.

as to say nothing happened. In 2011, in Aintree, there was a

:35:12.:35:16.

meeting where there were many representatives and two agencies

:35:16.:35:20.

President told us the movement of low horses was discussed. --

:35:21.:35:26.

agencies present. It may have been mentioned about abattoirs, but it

:35:26.:35:30.

was largely about welfare during the transfer of horses. In any

:35:30.:35:37.

event, in Northern Ireland, my staff examine consignments of

:35:37.:35:41.

horses leaving Northern Ireland for England and check their passport

:35:41.:35:47.

and welfare. This woman says they have been aware of this issue for

:35:47.:35:54.

some time, that she alerted authorities to a number of holding

:35:54.:35:56.

yards where low far your horses were corralled together before

:35:56.:36:01.

being moved away in lorries, she suspected, to be slaughtered for

:36:01.:36:04.

human consumption. She said she alerted about the issue time and

:36:04.:36:11.

time again. We contacted the Animal Health and Welfare team at the

:36:11.:36:16.

Department of Agriculture. When would that have been? Around 2005-

:36:16.:36:21.

2006, explaining we felt that these holding yards really did need to be

:36:21.:36:26.

policed. Your first contact them at eight years ago about this problem?

:36:26.:36:32.

Yes. How many times have you been on to them since? Countless times,

:36:32.:36:38.

and continually told it was not there remade, -- We met, nothing to

:36:38.:36:43.

do with them, they did not want to know. Why were the holding of these

:36:43.:36:48.

horses? I do not know why. As I say, if I had been aware of them, or

:36:48.:36:52.

made aware of them, we would have investigated this did the with

:36:52.:37:00.

respect, I have a letter here written telling you about these.

:37:00.:37:05.

was told in 2009 and the concern was these low value horses were

:37:05.:37:10.

being moved from those holding yards to abattoirs in England or to

:37:10.:37:14.

markets in England. If I had the information, and the information on

:37:14.:37:19.

a letter, I would be happy if you could give that to me, and I could

:37:19.:37:24.

investigate that aspect. But if I had information which would have

:37:24.:37:27.

allowed me to investigate, a move would have done so.

:37:27.:37:32.

So how much did the authorities in the South know? The Department of

:37:32.:37:35.

Agriculture in the Republic were not part of the Aintree meeting two

:37:35.:37:42.

years ago. But we understand they were made aware of the problem.

:37:42.:37:45.

The Department of her culture certainly knew there was a problem

:37:45.:37:49.

with Irish horses. -- Department of Agriculture. A problem with

:37:49.:37:53.

movement and with the paperwork. There is no room for manoeuvre on

:37:53.:37:59.

that. That was known. In the Republic, we also know of one

:37:59.:38:01.

approach to the Department of Agriculture which have hard

:38:01.:38:05.

evidence of wrongdoing. In fact, that approach was made by her mac

:38:05.:38:15.
:38:15.:38:17.

insider. -- our insider. So you went to a department

:38:17.:38:24.

official in the Republic? You told them what you were working at? Yes.

:38:24.:38:30.

What did he say? To let them is clean itself up. And you went back

:38:30.:38:37.

to work? I showed him, even two books with me that day. What books?

:38:37.:38:42.

Dodgy horse books and he had them in his own hand. Did he keep them?

:38:42.:38:49.

No, he handed them back to me. did not want to know? He did not.

:38:49.:38:54.

Did you ever go back? No, why would you go back?

:38:54.:38:58.

We asked the Department of Agriculture if they had any record

:38:58.:39:02.

of what the insider had told them. The department has said it does not

:39:02.:39:07.

comment on individual cases. We also asked on a number of occasions

:39:07.:39:10.

for an interview with the Minister. The Department declined and said

:39:10.:39:16.

the Minister was too busy. The horsemeat crisis began when

:39:16.:39:21.

Irish officials at tested supermarket products for equine DNA.

:39:21.:39:26.

It seems that some parts of that story are now coming full circle

:39:26.:39:32.

back to Ireland. Checks on horse slaughtering and the export of live

:39:32.:39:37.

horses are now being intensified, both north and south of the border,

:39:37.:39:42.

but according to our insider, that is simply a case of shutting the

:39:42.:39:49.

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