Last week police in Northern Europe were puzzled after more than a dozen dead cows washed ashore in Denmark and Sweden.
Officials now believe that they've pinpointed the source of the animal carcasses.
“Police suspect that the source is a Lebanese ship that was carrying live cattle from a U.S. port to Europe,” Danish police said in a statement.
The cows are thought to have died when the ship ran into a storm in the Bay of Biscay, according to the Local.
The animals had been killed with a bolt gun, their stomachs cut open and their legs tied together. Officials said that the carcasses had been cut open to ensure that they would sink, and their legs had likely been bound to facilitate hoisting them overboard with a crane. The animals' ears were mutilated as the result of removing ear tags.
According to the Copenhagen Post, the crew had tried to unload the dead cows at a Russian port, but their request was denied. The crew likely dumped the carcasses overboard about 11 miles off the coast of Danish Island of Bornholm, officials estimate.
The dumping of livestock is illegal in the Baltic Sea, and the ship's operators will likely face fines. The ship is currently at port somewhere in the Baltic, but officials did not disclose where.
Veterinarians in Sweden found no traces of disease in the animals washed ashore there, Swedish police told the Associated Press.