/ Horsemeat

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mypyrex - on 12 Feb 2013
As I understand it, the problem has arisen as a result of a) incorrect labelling, ie labelling something as beef when, in fact it was horse; and b)the risk that the horsemeat might have been contaminated.

Those points aside, why does there seem to be an aversion in the UK to the consumption of horse meat? There are apparently quite a few other countries where it is quite regularly consumed. If it's properly reared and slaughtered what's the difference between heating horse or beef? I sometimes wonder if it's similar to people being squeamish about rabbit because they had a nice fluffy bunny as a childhood pet.
EeeByGum - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Perhaps because of the same reason people don't like to eat lamb or dog? Look at the poor little lambs / puppies.

The pub over the road from me right now does excellent horse burgers!
mypyrex - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to mypyrex) Perhaps because of the same reason people don't like to eat lamb or dog? Look at the poor little lambs / puppies.
But a lot of people in the UK DO eat lamb but you are probably right
Philip on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

It is odd. I'm not sure it would be that different to venison - similar diet and athletic nature.

The pet thing would explain rabbits, and "killing bambi" is one excuse people make for not eating venison, but horses are hardly pets. Most kids probably only see a horse in a farm context where they live with all the animals we do eat.

Maybe it's the intelligence. People don't like to think of killing and eating something that shows emotion (cat, dogs, horses). Cows and sheep seem quite dumb. Most people see pigs up close - and for the people who buy these ready meals it's not like the pigs in those ever see the outdoors.
hnmisty - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
The welfare of horses transported for slaughter in mainland Europe is horrific. As a horse lover myself, I have no desire to eat horse, just as I don't want to eat dog or cat, but I have no problem with people who want to eat it- PROVIDED they know it was transported under decent conditions. I have a friend who is a horse owner and who also eats horse (she has Belgian relatives, they eat horse), however, she knows it's only been transported a few miles under decent conditions.

These horses are crammed into lorries, often dragged on and off with ropes around their necks. For those that fall over in transport, there is so little space that they often end up being trodden on by the others. They get little rest, food or water on their journey, which can last for thousands of miles. They are also often diseased. I believe that any animal being transported for slaughter should be taken to the nearest abattoir- these horses aren't. One commonly used route apparently passes 180 slaughter houses on its way to its final destination.

http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/help-tomorrow/transport_action
Philip on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to hnmisty:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
> The welfare of horses transported for slaughter in mainland Europe is horrific.

Most transport is. In an ideal world farmed animals would only have to make one journey.
woolsack - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Horse is very tasty however I'd rather not eat any animal that is pumped full of drugs known to be harmful in the human food chain. If it is horse meat that is bred for eating - no problem.

greg_may_ - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

I eat lamb regularly, have eaten horse while away in France on several occasions. I don't see the issue with dog if it was reared to be an eaten animal as opposed to some Labrador they found in the street. I've possibly eaten it while in Africa or Aisa and getting mystery meat dinners.

It's all protein.
Jenny C on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Personally I wouldn't eat the meat of a carnivorous animal (dog), as I believe there is far more likelihood of disease entering the food chain (eg BSE or scrapie). I would also refuse monkey as they are too closely related to us, so there are the health risks of cannibalism.

Horse, Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Reindeer, Kangaroo - not a problem so long as the animal is healthy, raised to adequate welfare standards and the meat deemed fit for human consumption.

That said if I buy a product I expect it to contain the meat it is labeled as, not a (probably cheaper) alternative.

Secondly given that this cow/horsemeat clearly has been miss-labled I would be very concerned about the risk of the meat not being fit for human consumption (eg containing drugs unsafe for humans).
John Rushby - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

Bring it on - more to go into my Disney Stew.

hnmisty - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Philip:
Yes of course it is, but by buying British meat as opposed to foreign, the journey time is already restricted. Buy British beef- slaughtered in Britain. British chicken- slaughtered in Britain. Our lambs travel about 40 miles, if that, to slaughter. The horse meat found in these products? Not slaughtered in Britain. I buy British meat to support the farming industry, and for higher welfare standards.

Elaine Budden - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
I grew up on a farm and in my time have seen animals, pigs, sheep, chickens and cows be born, reared, killed and eaten. I have seen every stage and feel better knowing that the animals have had a good life, free to roam and free of pain whilst on our farm.

Im much more comfortable eating an animal i saw in a feild not long ago than one who may well have never seen the sunlight or felt grass under their feet.

All animals feel and i cared for the animals physically and emotionally when they were sick or injured.

Most people dont want to think about where meat comes from. They are desensitised to the idea of eating certain animals but when it comes down to it there isnt much difference between horse or beef.

I think the main issue is the loss of trust and perhaps we should be giving more attention to imported argentinian beef, where foot and mouth is common and infected animals slip into the food chain.

Sorry for the essay
Blue Straggler - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jenny C:
> I would also refuse monkey as they are too closely related to us, so there are the health risks of cannibalism.
>

Could you elaborate on this please as I am sure I am not the only person never to have heard such a thing?

Thanks!
Neil Williams - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jenny C:

"I would also refuse monkey as they are too closely related to us"

Yet you eat pork. Pig meat is quite closely related to us as well, to the point where I believe some butchers get an allergic (rejection) reaction to it.

Neil
Jenny C on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Jenny C)
> [...]
>
> Could you elaborate on this please as I am sure I am not the only person never to have heard such a thing?


Genetically (as I understand it) we are fairly closely related, we are also susceptible to the same diseases. Maybe I'm paranoid but I'd rather not risk it.
Ava Adore - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

I don't believe I'm squeamish about eating any animal. I feel it would be hypocritical to do so - I eat cow, pig, sheep, duck, chicken - why not others?

Except rabbit. And that's because it looks weird, not because I have fluffy bunny issues.
IainRUK - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: Pretty simple.. zoonosis..

The closer you are genetically to your prey the higher the risk of disease.

60% of human diseases made the species jump this way.. HIV for one is widely believed to have made the step this way..
AlexBush - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I would also refuse monkey as they are too closely related to us, so there are the health risks of cannibalism.
> Could you elaborate on this please as I am sure I am not the only person never to have heard such a thing?

Just googled it as I was thinking the same thing. It looks as if there is more chance of catching a disease from the body of your own kind or related species i.e., the disease which killed the person or monkey. 'Kuru' is like a human version of mad cow disease which can be caught through eating people.

http://askville.amazon.com/medical-side-effects-human-cannibalism/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=10668213
IainRUK - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Jenny C)
>
> "I would also refuse monkey as they are too closely related to us"
>
> Yet you eat pork. Pig meat is quite closely related to us as well, to the point where I believe some butchers get an allergic (rejection) reaction to it.
>
> Neil

Many also react to lobsters.. I did.. hypersensitivity is common with prolonged exposure to many non-self items..
IainRUK - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to AlexBush: Its very logical..

If a virus can survive in a monkey it is highly likely to survive in humans..

The further away we get in the taxonomic tree the more distantly related, the less genetic similarity, the less similar body types and physiology, the less chance of the same pathogens surviving..

Swine flu.. avian influenza..
simon c on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to AlexBush:

when I was in PNG there were still cases of it appearing, couple of the blokes I worked with were pretty matter of fact about it all, I gather one of them had partaken in the past! he had a cracking spear wound in his chest that he was proud of. interesting place to live ;-)
Starkey92 - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex: I work with horse and am studying equine science at uni. The main problem i see with horse meat is transport issues. In mainland uk (excluding NI, we have one and its only about 3hrs max from anywhere in NI) there's only two slaughter houses licensed to kill horses, meaning some have to be transported live in not the greatest conditions for a few hours. This while not the best situation, is not as bad as the prolonged transport of horses in Europe, that's the real issue I feel. The other issue that would have to be sorted is making sure the passport with the horse taken to slaughter is the correct passport, I've heard quite a few stories of people getting horses only to discover that according to their passport they had been slaughtered. By doing this animals that are not fit for human consumption ie they have been given Bute or other substances, into the food chain.
Other than that i cant see any reason not to eat horse. There's far to many floating around Ireland and the uk these days after the big racing boom, and i cant see the problem with it really! I would agree tho that in most cases its people being squeemish rather than refusing horse on ethical grounds due to its transport.
aultguish on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

I can't eat horses. I've been around them all my life. I own, train, ride and used to work them. A horse to me, is no different to say a cat or a dog to those owners, so to the previous poster who said they are not pets, I beg to differ.
I practice 'Intelligent Horsemanship,' google Monty Roberts if you want to know more.
They are highly intelligent animals, with feelings. They get sad, angry, depressed. I retired a horse last year and his stable mate then spent the next couple of days with his head pressed against the wall, pining, it was very sad to watch :-( I have a lot of stories like that.
With regards to Bute. I find it quite hard to believe that the true amounts of this medicine are not being mentioned. I can assure you, if a horse has been owned as a cherished pet, Eventer, showjumper, racehorse etc, then it has probably had a lot of Bute in its lifetime.
It's never recorded on the horses passport, that's if it has a legitimate passport, so it'll be interesting to see how that story unfolds.....by the way, we give horses Bute about the same frequency we give ourselves paracetamol, ibuprofen etc.
Anyway I'm not bothered if people eat horse, each to their own. I do make sure that my horses have it recorded via their passport and vets, that they are not for the food chain, it may keep them out of your stomachs, I don't know, there's dodgy profiteers in every business.
Here's a wee video, enjoy

http://news.sky.com/story/1040057/horse-abattoir-film-reveals-welfare-breaches
Starkey92 - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to aultguish:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
>


Just to play devils advocate, here's another video in which I personally cant see any breeches of animal welfare. Please note its from animal aid and is quite biast against slaughter, but the actual footage hasn't been doctored. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5mlEM4pC8M

Not all abattoir are the same, so judgment shouldn't be made on one set of footage.

I would agree tho that at the end of the day horses in this country are not breed for meat so the likely hood of bute etc getting into the food chain would be quite high!
aultguish on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Starkey92:
I'm not biased in anyway but that only happened recently at an abatoir that is quite local to me and I know of 2 horses that went there.
I've been around horses since I was a toddler, that's 40 years. I've a high understanding of the good and the bad, the shortcuts, the easy profits etc in the 'after market' horse, as I call them.
I've kept out of all the arguments on the numerous topics about the current horse scandal. The piss takes, the jokes, the making light of it, I posted that video just to let people know that it's not all happy smiles concerning the various topics.
If we took our cats and dogs to the vets when their sad day approached and the vet flung them in a dingy whole, electrocuted or bolted them and then sent them off to become cheapo meals, would we still laugh?

hnmisty - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to aultguish:
>
I do make sure that my horses have it recorded via their passport and vets
>

I think that's how horses with bute are entering the food chain- honest owners are recording it, or ticking the box to prevent their horse from going for human consumption. They then sell their horse, or loan it out, and the new owner "loses" the passport so gets a new one. No mention of bute being administered, or that little box ticked. I remember reading an article about a woman who loaned her two horses out, and the loanee stopped responding to her calls etc. This poor woman was so desperate to trace her horses that she phoned the local abattoir. They hadn't had anything with her horses' passport numbers...but they had had two horses matching the exact descriptions she gave. The "loanee" had simply had new passports issued for them, and then sent them off to become dinner.

Personally, I don't think passports are worth the paper they are printed on. According to mine, I have two healthy, and very much alive, ponies. Only they've been dead for over a year and six years respectively!
aultguish on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to hnmisty:
The passport system really is a joke. I've always had all mine fully passported up and microchipped but I really don't think it makes much difference nowadays.
Government, vets, abattoirs, dealers, owners, we all have to sing from the same sheet if we are to succeed but the minute there is a dodgy buck (no pun) to be made, then the criminals will find a way round it.
So unfortunately, IMO, the current problems for Tescos, us, you hungry lot and the horse :-( will never ever be fixed :-((
Starkey92 - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to aultguish: Sorry, I wasn't accusing you of being biased i was just putting forward what should (and does) happen if horses or any animal for that matter goes to slaughter. I completely agree with you that the video you linked is not the way to treat any animal. I have to say im pretty annoyed that despite the huge uproar at the scandal, very little (to my knowlage) has been brought up about the conditions of slaughter and transport! The passport system is a bit of a joke, i know Shetland's that have been classed as Irish Sport horses and so on. Picking up horses free to a good home etc is a pretty common trick used to get horses for meat.
aultguish on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Starkey92:
> Picking up horses free to a good home etc is a pretty common trick used to get horses for meat.

Sadly it is. When I've sold a horse on, I've always done my best to 'vet' the new owners by asking lots and lots of questions, watching how they ride etc and then even delivering the horse to its new home and having a look at that before getting it off the wagon. After that tho, once they are gone, there's nothing I can do about its future but I've always tried to sell to 'home for life'

Blue Straggler - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jenny C:

OK thanks (and to others who answered my question)
Blizzard - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
Incorrect labelling???? What a crock. How does a mistake like that happen??
toad - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Now if all horses had been fitted with personal locator beacons, all this could have been avoided.









I've been here too long
Jim C - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Ava Adore:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
>
> I don't believe I'm squeamish about eating any animal. I feel it would be hypocritical to do so - I eat cow, pig, sheep, duck, chicken - why not others?
>
> Except rabbit. And that's because it looks weird, not because I have fluffy bunny issues.

How would you manage at the Kingshouse where you can feed the deer in the car park t this time of year and eat a Bambi burger in the bar five mins 'later?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22776031@N05/8418774762/in/set-72157632616473605
Ava Adore - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jim C:

Yum :-)
Bimble on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jim C:

By eating with my taste buds and not my eyes & emotions!
I've eaten all sorts of animals, including horse, which was bloomin' delicious as I recall. I've no issues with eating any of them as long as they had a happy life and a swift end. I much prefer to hunt my own meat or source it straight from hunters rather than buy slaughterhouse stuff, but going cow-hunting is somewhat frowned upon so I'm limited to the extent of that.

What I don't want to eat, however, is Romanian horse that could have been pumped full of god-knows-what medication prior to slaughter and most likely ended up in the food chain only because of the new laws there banning horses & carts from the roads.

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