|Horsemeat Lovers Breed Galloping Increases in Thefts|
|Key Words||Thefts, price, sales, disease, export|
Horse stealing is on the rise, although the number of thefts is still small. For example, in Texas, where the horse industry is second to the cattle industry, about 200 out of the one million horses on ranches are stolen in any given year. The stolen horses are generally trucked to slaughterhouses and, after processing, find their way to restaurants in Europe, often before the loss is reported.
The reason for the increase in horse stealing appears to be the rising price of horsemeat. For the last decade, horsemeat has traded for 45 to 50 cents a pound; now it is around 80 cents a pound. Experts say that horsemeat is becoming increasingly popular in Europe because of mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease which have reduced sales of beef, lamb, and pork, both in the countries where the diseases are most prevalent - Great Britain and France - and the countries to which the meats would have been exported.
Special Texas Rangers are fighting back, using hi-tech aids such as computer chips embedded under the horses' skin to trace the location of stolen horses. Digital photos are also being used to identify stolen horses.
(Updated June 1, 2001)
|Source||Guillermo X. Garcia, "Rise in horse thefts linked to bad beef abroad," USA Today, April 20, 2001.|
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