Three Florida farms raided over alleged slaughter operations

stock-eyeLaw enforcement officials in Palm Beach, Florida, have raided three farms alleged to be involved in the illegal slaughter trade.

The operation follows a six-month investigation by the Miami-based nonprofit group, Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), which has worked in southern Florida for several years to stop illegal slaughter operations.

South Florida has been in the news for years over its black market horse-meat trade. State officials toughened laws following a string of horse thefts for the purpose of slaughter.

It is now a third degree felony to buy, sell, transport, kill a horse or possess horse meat for human consumption in the state.

The farms are in the western part of Palm Beach County and the greater Wellington area. It is alleged that horses were slaughtered on at least two of the properties.

ARM says it has undercover footage which shows inhumane handling of animals for the purpose of slaughter.

It said it had other footage showing individuals selling large amounts of horse meat.

Reports have suggested about 750 animals, including goats, pigs, cattle, birds and roosters, have been seized after officials entered the three properties under warrant on Tuesday.

Six arrests have been reported.

ARM’s founder and lead investigator Richard Couto said his group had filed written reports and provided video footage to law enforcement officials in the month leading up to the raids.

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