Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Criminal Investigation Launched After 'Sick Cow' Scandal in Poland

Food
Poland produces about 560,000 metric tons of beef a year, with 85 percent of it exported. Thomas Bjørkan / CC BY-SA 3.0

A tainted meat scandal is rocking Europe after an undercover reporter revealed workers at a Polish slaughterhouse mistreating and killing sick cows and selling the beef for human consumption.

Nearly three metric tons of suspect meat has reached least a dozen European Union countries, according to EuroNews, including Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.


Secret footage of an abattoir in Poland's Mazovia region shows cows that are so sick they can't even stand and being dragged into slaughter, as well as workers cutting off signs of illness such as tumors and pressure sores from the carcasses, as the Guardian detailed.

Polish authorities have since shut down the operation. Withdrawals of the meat are also ongoing, Anca Paduraru, European Commission spokeswoman for food safety, told Euronews.

"We are in close contact with the Polish authorities and at the request of the European Commission on the 29th of January the rapid alert system for food and feed has been triggered by Poland and this allowed the tracing and the withdrawal from the market of the concerned meat," she said.

Poland sick cow slaughterhouse: withdrawals of meat exported to EU 'ongoing' www.youtube.com

Polish police have launched a criminal investigation into two companies in response to the undercover report, according to Reuters. The European Commission will also send inspectors to Poland on Monday to assist with the investigation.

Poland produces about 560,000 metric tons of beef a year, with 85 percent of it exported.

The country's chief veterinarian Pawel Niemczuk said that new measures will be implemented at slaughterhouses to prevent another similar situation.

"Video surveillance will be available 24 hours a day, but there should be someone with medical and veterinary knowledge that would (be able to) come and assess if the animals are unloaded in line with regulations," Niemczuk said, as quoted by Reuters.

Poland's Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski also called the case an "isolated incident," according to Euractiv.

But Patryk Szczepaniak, the reporter who exposed the story on news channel TVN2, told the Guardian that the practice of slaughtering sick cows and exporting the beef could be much more widespread.

Szczepaniak, who worked undercover at the abattoir for three weeks, said dozens of people have reached out and told him about similar practices in other parts of the country.

"My inbox is full of messages from people who live near slaughterhouses, former employees of slaughterhouses, former law-enforcement and regulatory officials, all claiming that similar things have been happening where they are," he said to the Guardian. "It has been a full-time job just following them all up—more is definitely going to come out about this."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

People enjoy outdoor dining along Pier Ave. in Hermosa Beach, California on July 8, 2020. Keith Birmingham / MediaNews Group / Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

California is reversing its reopening plans amidst a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Read More Show Less
A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less