Sweden's missing horses mystery stirs horsemeat worry


Swedish officials are investigating why between 4000 and 9000 horses disappear from the country every year. There are concerns the horses are ending up in slaughterhouses around the continent.


Vince Caligiuri

Sweden is investigating the fate of 9000 horses that disappear each year in that country.

Officials are concerned that the horses have made their way into European slaughterhouses.

The investigation comes at the heels of a horsemeat scare that has affected food retailers across the continent.

The contamination scandal began several weeks ago when Irish and British supermarkets discovered traces of horse DNA in meat products on their shelves.

It is believed that the ground beef implicated in the scare may have been processed with the horsemeat from slaughterhouses in Romania.

On Friday, AFP reported that tests carried out in Britain found that out of 2,501 meat products, 29 were found to contain traces of horsemeat.

More from GlobalPost: Horsemeat scandal: EU calls for DNA tests on beef products across Europe

The Local, Sweden's English-language daily, reported that Swedish officials became concerned after finding a gap in the number of horse deaths every year.

The newspaper noted that there are about 360,000 horses in Sweden.

Horses live about 15 years on average.

It is estimated that around 18,000 to 23,000 horses die in Sweden every year but Swedish authorities noted that only about 14,000 of those deaths are on the books.

This means there's a huge gap in the number of horse deaths every year.

It is not yet known whether or not the horses ended up in slaughterhouses outside the country or the horses may just be living longer.