DailyDirt: Horse, The Other Other Red Meat

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Just when you thought the horse meat scandal in Europe was winding down, it’s once again getting media attention as more cases continue to pop up. But is horse meat really that bad? According to people who have (willingly) eaten it, horse meat has been described as being lean, tender, sweet, juicy, like a mix between beef and venison, and better than a really good beef steak. Perhaps beef products in Europe should just come with a label that says: “May contain traces of horse meat.” Here are a few more links about horse meat.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Horse, The Other Other Red Meat”

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varagix says:

Re: yum. horsemeat.

You know, you shouldn’t eat those. People might object. Also you shouldn’t eat chicken, since chicken is a dirty animal. Nor pigs. Don’t eat dogs, either, because their a beloved family pet. Don’t eat cows because their sacred.

Also no synthetic foods; its poison, really. Or anything treated with chemicals either. Or genetically engineered , including the vast number of plants and animals that we’ve tinkered with for centuries using selective breeding.

Actually, don’t eat anything that’s currently or was once alive; lots of people say all life is sacred, and many people could be offended by any living thing you chose to eat.

… Hey, that rock looks tasty and non-offensive…

Valkor (profile) says:

One of my first papers in college was a discussion of a California ballot proposition. I chose one regarding a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption. I thought it a ridiculous infringement on the liberty of a person to eat any damn thing he pleased, barring endangered species and situations of animal cruelty, and thought the very idea of a ban preposterous. I thought there was no practical difference between a cow and a horse.

Sadly, 60% of my fellow Californians disagreed.

Anonymouse says:

Where did they come from?

What I want to know is where are all these horses coming from?

If horsemeat is showing up in as many minced meat products as we’ve been hearing about lately, where did these shady operators get it from?

I mean, surely it’s cheaper to raise a cow than to raise a horse (not a farmer/rancher, but I would imagine this statement is true) for meat.

tracker1 (profile) says:

Re: Horses are useful

Depending on the environment, a Horse can be a great alternative to gas powered machinery.. carts, deliveries, etc… I can see them being in wide use in more rural areas very successfully.

Horses may have more offspring than can be raised, needed or cared for, and older horses aren’t as useful… I’m speaking strictly from a practical standpoint, that horses are more useful than cows while they are being raised. Using them as food when they aren’t makes sense.

I don’t see what all the fuss is about overall, as I also wouldn’t consider eating horse meat any worse than cow, pig, etc… “There’s all sorts of tasty critters in the world.” In this day and age when there are so many people to feed, and mounting evidence our excess intake of carbohydrates are pretty bad, anything that allows for other, natural food sources is probably an okay idea.

Aaron says:

Re: Where did they come from?

Well, I live in Belgium, and horse is available pre-packaged in the grocery store just like turkey, chicken, pork, etc. Same in France. So I imagine the traces are coming from processing equipment used by legal producers in those countries in Europe where horse regularly is consumed. (It’s good, by the way.)

Q?r Tharkasd?ttir (profile) says:


Personally, I have no problem with horse meat, but many people will not eat it, primarily in countries where Protestantism is a predominant cultural feature. Those people should be respected, as we usually respect people who for an infinite variety of reasons won’t eat pork, rabbit, dog, cat, eggs, worms, frogs, or for that matter any meat whatsoever. As we should respect the Roma, who find disgusting the idea of having dogs or cats as pets. Marvin Harris, the great anthropologist, might have provided us with sensible, down-to-earth explanations for these taboos, but they should never make us deviate from a basic sense of respect for others.

However, the larger scandal ? one involving immense numbers of consumers, i.e. also a question of respect ? about this horse meat affair is that it escaped the obligatory controls, which should otherwise have rejected it as unfit for human consumption because it was tainted with substances used in the race horse industry (should be banned too, IMO). There is widespread corruption at work in the veterinary trade all over Europe, and probably elsewhere, insofar as individual veterinarians are expected to control their own customers: to put it mildly, they can only be reluctant to report them.

Few are those that mention the economic backdrop, that is the increasing costs connected with the disposal of refuse???race horse carcasses, in other words.

Interestingly, even before the race horse industry turned up on the front line, the first shots in the blame game were fired at Romania (not the Roma, thank you), where horse-drawn carts in small farmer communities were a common sight until recently. A new law forbidding their presence on highways has been drafted of late, allegedly because they???not reckless driving, of course???were the cause of too many traffic accidents. This, in turn, should have led to an abundance of horse meat on the market. As if the Romanians weren’t blamed for all sorts of bas stuff in Europe. I’m glad that this one didn’t stick too long on the screen.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Perspectives

many people will not eat it, primarily in countries where Protestantism is a predominant cultural feature.

Which is interesting, because the reason horse meat is not considered culturally unacceptable in the west is because Pope Gregory declared it a unacceptable (it was a pagan food). So it’s a Catholic, not Protestant thing at root.

Q?r Tharkasd?ttir (profile) says:

Re: Re: Perspectives

@John Fenderson – So it’s a Catholic, not Protestant thing at root.

Not sure, actually. It might well be Celtic, all that stuff with horse sacrifices, horse burials etc. Offhand I can’t remember if the Celts were in favour of or against eating it. I’d have to do more research to refresh things than I currently have time for (and than this thread would allow for). If the Celts (and possibly other pre-Christian populations like the Germanics and the Slavs) ate it ritually, then the prohibition-turned-taboo would indeed have been Catholic (IX-XIIth centuries) and particularly enforced in those “frontier” lands that centuries later, for completely unrelated economic reasons, were to turn Protestant. I wonder if there is a parallel with the Anglo-Saxon taboo on “toadstools” (some of which which were undoubtedly consumed in ritual contexts).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Perspectives

Horse meat was a common food in Europe until Pope Gregory III wrote a letter to a German bishop.

Slate has a pretty good discussion of the history of all this (http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2011/10/slaughtering_horses_for_meat_is_banned_in_the_u_s_why_.html). Here’s a relevant tidbit:

The pope described hippophagy as a ?filthy and abominable custom.? (Also, horses aren?t kosher.) The popular view among historians is that banning horse-eating helped distinguish Christians from the pagans, but some think the pope?s real motivation was to preserve horses for warfare. Around the same time, the Irish Collection of Canon law sought to end the Celtic and Teutonic habit of eating horse, forcing violators to subsist on bread and water for four years.

Jonas says:

Cultural differences

Another Belgian here, and I confess I’ve been (consciously) eating horse meat for as long as I can remember. I think the fact that American(…) cultures are unfamiliar with the practice of eating horse meat is skewing the issue at hand here. The problem is not that we may have unknowingly been eating horse, but that somehow somewhere a certain kind of food was labelled as a different kind of food. That certain kind of food could have been anything – different, but MUCH more importantly, also unfit for consumption – it shows our food chain isn’t as controlled as we thought it was. It could just as well have been beef disguised as horse meat, though I doubt such an instance would have captured the attention of the anglo-saxon media.

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