Horse: The Other Red Meat?

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horseHere's something I'm not proud to admit: I've eaten horse meat. And not just any horse meat -- raw horse meat, in fact.

What can I say? I was at a trendy restaurant in Toronto (where eating horse is more common?); the server told me it was the best thing on the menu; I had an impulse to try something I've never had before.

I wish I could say it was disgusting, but it was the exact opposite -- like really nice tuna tartare but fresher and without any trace of a fishy flavor (obviously). But afterward I felt deathly ill -- not because there was anything wrong with the meat (there wasn't). But because I felt so guilty for eating something that most people consider a friend rather than food.

That's exactly why I'm so skeptical of the Summit of the Horse Conference held this week in Las Vegas, which is debating how to revive horse as a food source.

America's horse slaughtering industry was shut down in 2007. But a coalition of ranchers, horse owners, and -- get this -- animal-welfare groups at the summit are hoping to revive it.

There's some support for bringing back horse processing to the United States because as it stands now, there are not many avenues in which to dispose of horses economically and humanely. It's expensive to hire a vet to euthanize them. And, horse rescue groups can only take so many animals. As a result, thousands of horses are shipped to Mexico for slaughter and suffer along the way (this is where the animal-welfare groups come in). Plus, supporters say horse processing would be economically beneficial for some rural areas.

But not so fast: Many other animal-rights groups vehemently oppose bringing slaughterhouses back to the States, arguing that there are better alternatives including providing free hay to owners who can't afford it and investing in ways to reduce horse breeding.

Here's the bottom line when it comes to the debate about whether horse processing should be brought back to the U.S.: Can we overcome the "ick" factor and get used to consuming horse? As a fresh wave of guilt and subsequent nausea pass over me at the mere thought, I have to say:

"Not a chance."

Would you eat horse?


Image via tasweertaker/Flickr

food, trends

46 Comments

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Annabelle Eldridge

As a horse owner and lover.. I dont think I could eat horse! Im not saying I wont ever. But at this date in time I realy dont think so! LOL. It would be like eating my dog! YUCK!

DebaLa DebaLa

Nooooooooooooo!     : (

kathe... katherine.pryde

shhh. i ate it at an outdoor market in europe once. i felt guilty at first, but i have to admit it was delcious. 

ChEMOM ChEMOM

I grew up on a dairy farm and I much prefer cows over horses (in terms of pets I mean) I would never eat my pet cow (and my father kept an old cow who was past her milking age from the slaughter house simply because she was my favorite once)  of course but I eat plenty of cow. I would definitly eat horse.

nonmember avatar Christine

I don't think I could eat horse meat on a regular basis (like instead of beef) but I would try it. Why not? I have tried goat (actually very good) and I frequent a restaurant here where they specialize in serving bison (their meatloaf is awesome!). I think horse meat for me would be like the goat meat, tried once, but not a common edible.

Lokis... LokisMama

Wheeee, someone had better market Mr. Ed Burgers.


I've never had it but meat is meat.  I think it'd be more like eating dear than eating cow, simply because horses are so much more active.


 

Saras... Sarasahmof3

I have eaten horse, dog, and cat. They were rather tasty. It is our American culture that makes it taboo.  In some cultures eating pig or cows is taboo. I have no problem as long as they are treated well, from birth to grave.

Sarah Nibeel French

lol, I stopped eating meat when I was 10 for the same reason this poster had a hard time eating horse meat: "But because I felt so guilty for eating something that most people consider a friend rather than food."  I considered all animals friends, lol.  Every time I ate chicken, I would think about that chicken and his life on his farm, and his friends... lol.  So I stopped eating meat and haven't started back up again.  I do eat seafood, though.  That's probably because I have a hatred of fish...  ;-)

nonmember avatar Allboys

Yes I would eat horse. It sounds as though the reasons for bringing back slaughterhouses are for humane purposes. Those who say just give money to this problem where is the money supposed to come from? Making a product creates jobs and adds to the economy. Our country has the most restrictive idea of what food is and honestly we really should break free of these ideas. It's creating horrible conditions for the animals we do consume and causing unneeded stress. Why feel bad for eating a horse but not a chicken who never saw the light of day?

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