What’s Wrong with Eating Horse Meat?

Many Americans are shocked at hearing that the House Appropriations Committee voted to remove the ban on slaughtering horse for meat. After all, cattle are the main source of meat in America, with pigs, sheep and lamb making up the rest of the red meats that many nutritionists tell us to avoid.

But the idea of eating horse meat is repulsive to many people, but it’s more a mental issue of the people than a practical or taste issue.

I’ll tell you right now. I’ve not only eaten horse meat and liked it, but I’ve served horse meat to others in the past and they complimented me on the great beef steak or burgers. I never told them it was horse and they never knew the difference.

According to one source:

“Horse meat, or chevaline, as its supporters have rebranded it, looks like beef, but darker, with coarser grain and yellow fat. It seems healthy enough, boasting almost as much omega-3 fatty acids as farmed salmon and twice as much iron as steak. But horse meat has always lurked in the shadow of beef in the United States. Its supply and demand are irregular, and its regulation is minimal. Horse meat’s cheapness and resemblance to beef make it easy to sneak into sausages and ground meat. Horse lovers are committed and formidable opponents of the industry, too.”

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So why is the idea of slaughtering and eating horses so repulsive to so many?

One reason is that horse meat was falsely blamed for poisoning American soldiers as stated:

“In 1899, horse meat was dragged into one of the highest-profile food scandals of the century: the notorious Beef Court investigating how American soldiers fighting in the Spanish-American War ended up poisoned by their own corned meat. Many speculated wrongly that the contaminated beef was in fact horse meat. The first decade of America’s horse meat industry had been an unprofitable, ill-regulated disaster for the country’s reputation. The new regulations put in place in the 1906 Pure Food Act could not reverse this overnight…”

“During World War II food shortages, horse meat once again found its way to American tables, but the post-war backlash was rapid. ‘Horse meat’ became a political insult. ‘You don’t want your administration to be known as a horse meat administration, do you?’ the former New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia demanded of his successor William O’Dwyer. President Truman was nicknamed ‘Horse meat Harry’ by Republicans during food shortages in the run up to the 1948 ‘Beefsteak Election.’ In 1951, reporters asked if there would be a ‘Horse meat Congress,’ one ‘that put the old gray mare on the family dinner table.’ When Adlai Stevenson ran for president in 1952, he was also taunted as ‘Horse meat Adlai’ thanks to a Mafia scam uncovered in Illinois when he was governor.”

“Although work horses vanished by the 1970s and mustangs were finally under federal protection, the growing number of leisure horses led to another surge in horse slaughter. The 1973 oil crisis pushed up the price of beef and, inevitably, domestic horse meat sales rose. Protestors picketed stores on horseback, and Pennsylvania Senator Paul S. Schweiker floated a bill banning the sale of horse meat for human consumption.”

Today, some areas of the United States have vast herds of wild horses that directly complete with native wildlife. The federal Wild Horse and Burro Act of the early 1970s protects them more than the native wildlife is protected. However, wild horses and wild burros are introduced species that have driven native wildlife – including deer, elk and buffalo – out of some of their natural ranges. So, what do we do with the surplus of wild horse to better control and manage the land and native wildlife populations?

One of the easiest and cheapest solutions is to allow for the legal slaughter and sale of horsemeat. Round up many of the wild horses and use them to help feed the nation. Oh, yeah, the beef industry would protest as will the bleeding-heart liberals who can’t imagine harming a horse. After all, horses look so much more regal and noble than cattle. But consider that it’s legal to harvest and sell the meet of buffalo, deer, elk, rabbits, alligators and other native wildlife, many of which look more regal and noble than a horse.

I grew up with horses. I’ve broken horses (training wild horses to be tame horses), I’ve shoed horses, I’ve run cattle and hunted on horseback and I rode saddle broncs for several years. I have more respect for horses than I do cattle, but I have no qualms about eating horse meat nor am I against the slaughter and sale of horse meat to the general public. Therefore, yes, I support the House Appropriations Committee move to remove the ban on the slaughter and sale of horse meat and urge you to be open minded about it also.


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