What’s the difference between eating a cow and a horse? No it’s not one of the many bad jokes doing the rounds on Twitter today, it’s a genuine question. Maybe it’s because I’m a vegetarian but I’m finding the whole furore over horse DNA being found in burgers a little bit odd. If you eat meat, as the majority of people do, why is the type of animal such a big deal? Surely if you are happy to eat cows, sheep, pigs, deer and ducks then a horse shouldn’t be such a big deal?
‘Oh but they’re such lovely animals, so majestic’ people complain. Well yes, they are, and I don’t believe they should be eaten, but then again I happen to think cows are beautiful animals with their huge brown eyes and just because you can’t train one to jump over hurdles and win races (has anyone ever tried?) I don’t see why they should be viewed as less important. I love ducks and think deer are beautiful but they are eaten every day. What’s the difference?
People in other countries across Europe view horse meat as a normal food. I can remember going to Paris 13 years ago and struggling to find anywhere serving veggy food (apart from good old Pizza Express.) We had a meal one night where my husband had a steak and was pretty certain it was not beef and was more likely to be from the horse family. But as he said then, ‘if you are willing to eat meat you can’t really complain.’
Some people have commented that it is the fact that the packaging didn’t state there was horse in the product that is the problem. I doubt that very much. According to one report I read, out of 27 burger products tested, 10 contained horse DNA and 23 included pig DNA. I haven’t seen anyone all het up and stressed about the fact their burger had a bit of pork in it despite the fact that pigs are apparently highly intelligent creatures. There has also been little mention of the fact that of 31 other beef products, such as cottage pie or lasagne, 21 tested positive for pig DNA. Again where is the outcry? Oh, that’s right, no one minds eating pig.
So to everyone who is outraged about the horse issue I agree it was wrong, but maybe you need to look at what you normally eat. If you are happy to eat other meat what is the real difference?
All images from Freedigitalphotos.net