The scandal that broke in the UK and is now breaking in Europe is that horse meat has been found in products that should – according to the packaging – only have contained beef.
So what’s the problem?
After all, people eat a variety of animals – from dogs to rats, to snakes – in some parts of the world.
So isn’t it just a cultural ‘issue’?
Well, no. It’s a health issue.
Let’s look at cows. Some are declared unfit for human consumption for a variety of reasons – such as that their lungs are riddled with tumours.
And of course, with the emergence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE) all cows have their brains and spinal cords separated out and discarded in the abbattoir to prevent those BSE prions infecting people.
But horses aren’t supposed to be for human consumption at all. So there are none that are declared unfit because of tumours they might have in their lungs or because of any number of other illnesses or diseases.
None of them are supposed to be in food. But if some are, then any are.
What I mean is that if a prize stallion broke its neck jumping a gate, and its carcass found its way into the food chain, that’s one thing.
But do you really think that the horse meat that has been found in supposed beef products comes from prime, healthy horseflesh?