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A Horse Of A Different Color

Food Columnist Bob Leo tackles the controversial topic of horse meat as a food source.

I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the big horse meat scandal sweeping " the continent". It makes you wonder how long this has been going on and just what's in that Whopper you ate last week.

And just why aren't horses eaten anyway?

Our illustrious President Obama recently lifted a ban on FDA inspections of horse meat. This would now make butchering horses legal in the good ol' U.S. of A.

In fact in many Asian and European countries horse is widely accepted as a food source. The top 8 horse meat producing countries butchered 4.7 million pounds last year. I'm not talking third world nations here, although certainly developing nations like Mexico, Mongolia and Kazakhastan make the list, so do Brazil, Canada, Poland, Italy, France and Spain.

I personally, have tasted lots of weird stuff but not horse (at least not to my knowledge). I am told, however, that it is slightly sweet, like a cross between beef and venison. The meat is lean and nutritious. It has a shorter cooking time than beef or pork and is very tender. Early in the Paleolithic age horse was a staple for hunters and gatherers. It prevented famine during the French Revolution. Napoleon used wounded war horses to feed his army. So why not now?

Generally horse is not available in English speaking countries because horses are catorgorized  in the pet department. They plow our fields and take us on rides and seem to bond with humans. Ranchers don't produce horse because the are leaner and have higher metabolisms than most livestock . This translates to more feed per pound.

In fact way back in 732AD Pope Gregory III banned butchering of horses to prevent Germanic pagans from their ritual sacrifices to Odin. So this 'beef' has been going on for some time.

Personally, I say horsefeathers, if it tastes good and is nutritious, then common horse sense says eat it. Tell the poor starving kid in Ethiopia to have a steak. I'm sure he won't mind.

"the eyes of T-Bury" February 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM
This is an abomination! What's next? Our pet dogs or cats? If Skippy goes missing, now I have to worry that he's on your plate?? I'm not a vegetarian, but this is terrible!!!!
Steevo February 23, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Could be a timely article Bob. To my knowledge I've never eaten it but after reading your description of a leaner nutritious meat I'm looking forward to the first opportunity. I've had deer and it's leaner than the best top round steak and am wondering if it's similar. That I would pay top dollar.
Hedgren February 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM
The problem is that there are few regulatory agencies inspecting horse slaughter plants therefore bute and other substances can enter the food chain. For example, all I need to do is call someone to pick up my horse and it can end up in the food chain - all I am required to do is state that I have not given anything to my horse. As well horses are accepted in any state of health.
malcolm nichols February 23, 2013 at 01:32 PM
In the words of our President "delicious".
Veronica Greene February 23, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Thank you for bring the issue of horse meat to our local area. However, as a reporter, check facts. Plus, this is no laughing nor joking matter. Horse meat is extremely dangerous to human health & horse slaughter is extremely inhumane. You may be eating horse meat right now. The "horse meat scandal" has now spread to most of the countries in Europe, now reported in Asia. The last horse slaughterhouse in the U.S. closed in 2007, however, our horses are shipped live to Mexico & Canada for slaughter, meat shipped overseas. Yes, a ban was lifted in the U.S., Nov. 2012. This was done via a closed, back-door meeting, with 3 self-serving legislators, at the 11th hour government shutdown. Most legislators did not know this Amendment was added, & signed. All horse meat contains toxic drugs/chemicals, some NEVER leave the body: painkiller Bute. Bute is known to cause aplastic anemia, with young & elderly especially vulnerable. Do not recommend giving horse "steak" to children, Third Wold countries! Horse slaughter is heinous. It can NEVER be humane. The penetrating captive bolt used to brain stun, designed for cattle, does not work on equine anatomy. The majority of horses are butchered, thrashing & conscious, hung by one hoof. America could not be settled without hoses nor wars won For recreation & therapy. Companion animals. http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/us-horse-meat-makes-its-way-to-european-union-349748.html ~ http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/
Bill Gilman (Editor) February 23, 2013 at 03:43 PM
V.R. let me just offer a clarification just for full disclosure and understanding. Bob Leo isn't a reporter. He is a food columnist. He has enjoyed a long career in the food and restaurant industry and is presently the general manager for the Tewksbury Country Club/Tew-Mac Tavern. Again, I say this only so that you are clear on the perspective that Bob is writing from.
LaLa February 23, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Very well said V.R.......couldn't agree with you anymore. Extremely disappointing to see this slaughter now legal in America.....completely BARBARIC!
billvill February 23, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I'll eat horse meat when you buy suitable Bourbon for Tew Mac Tavern.
Who Me? February 23, 2013 at 05:12 PM
How about Cows, Chickens and Pigs? Fire up the barbie?
trudy siraco February 23, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Last I knew, we are not in Ethiopia. Apparently Mr. Leo doesn't understand the relationship we Americans have with the horse. It is akin to eating your dog. Would he recommend Fido for dinner if it tastes good as well? How uneducated.
Who Me? February 23, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Some cultures eat dogs. Some cultures think eating cows is abhorant. It's what ever each culture has grown up with. I have tasted horse meat, it actually ain't bad. But then I'm a beef eater which man is intended to be, it's why we have canines. If God did not want us eating animals he shouldn't have made em' outta meat.
billvill February 23, 2013 at 09:50 PM
"Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy mother******. Pigs sleep and root in sh**. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces."
Richard Menard February 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM
well said Jules...."what about dogs, are they a filth animal?"
billvill February 24, 2013 at 01:34 AM
" I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way."
Mike Roberts February 24, 2013 at 03:58 AM
V.R. - You and ASPCA seem to take the same stand "Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia. Due to the historic role that horses have played in the development of our country and culture, the ASPCA is opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption." So does this mean that if Paul Revere was instead on 'Bessie the cow' we would be leading the horse meat production rates instead of China and Mexico ? Please check your facts on slaughtering and meat being toxic . . . - Cows and Horses are both slaughtered in the same manner - so does this mean that you are going to put down that quarter pounder? - No, not all horse meat is toxic. Yes - if a vet does euthanize an animal, it is unfit for consumption. Those animals are cremated as the toxins do indeed need to be burnt off. Otherwise horse meat is perfectly fit for human consumption. Let's be honest with one another - slaughtering ANY animal is inhumane...but we choose to eat meat. You really need to get off the soapbox because of your love for Mr. Ed.

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