Horse meat scandals and the Law of Unintended Consequences


With the European Horse meat scandal in full swing, the butchers that sell “the other red meat” are doing a roaring trade as Britons are curious:

“While people are putting horse into their shopping cart on the website they are also putting in things like zebra, llama and alpaca,” said Paul Webb, director of central England-based speciality meat supplier Exotic Meats.

Horsemeat, which has a sweet, gamey flavor, is cheaper and healthier than beef, containing half the fat, more Omega 3, and high in protein and iron.  

Though none of Britain’s supermarkets sell horsemeat, it is available through speciality meat suppliers and is on the menu of a few notable restaurants, such as L’escargot Bleu in Edinburgh. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has also heralded it.

Exotic Meats has seen sales of horsemeat burgers, steaks and mince increase ten-fold since the scandal erupted on January 15.

“People are inquisitive, intrigued by what it tastes like,” said Webb, noting horsemeat products were proving popular for dinner party hosts who wanted to provide “a good talking point.”

Exotic Meats’ horsemeat is sourced from either France, Spain or Italy and processed in Britain by an EU approved plant.

Last week in response to the Findus scandal the firm posted on its website a recipe for horsemeat lasagne.

I like the way they think.

Zebra eh?   Hmm.

“Independent butchers are experiencing greater footfall at the present time,” said Roger Kelsey, CEO of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, which represents Britain’s traditional high-street butchers.

“That’s basically because in the eyes of the general public local traders are a better source of supply, due to their on site controls, because they tend to source product from local sources and they produce their own products on site.”

Of course, there has to be an outrage.  It wouldn’t be news without an outrage.

For some the idea of eating horse remains abhorrent.

“For many horse owners, eating horsemeat is as repulsive a concept as eating cat or dog,” said Victoria Spicer, editor of Horse & Country TV.

“The horse has been an integral part of Britain’s history and culture, and we owe our equine friends much more than this.”

If it bleeds, it feeds.


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  • Spiker

    Some years ago I was at the Te Teko sale yards where there were always a few horses up for rehoming. There was a man & woman bidding on a nice looking horse. The bidding went quite high & the woman was obviously keen to get it. In the end though the man won. Afterwards the woman went up to him & congratulated him on his purchase & asked if it was for his kids(present), his reply was nah lady it’s for my dogs. Well you should have seen her face, she went white & promptly burst into tears.

    I’m reminded of that episode as I see in the story above it says horse meat is high in omega3. I just got back from the vet awhile ago & she said more omega3 in my labs diet might help clear the skin condition he’s suffering from. Anyone got a surplus pony?

  • TayheiNotts

    At the Thoroughbred Bloodstock sale at Karaka on 7th to 9th May 2012 lots 10, 19, 43, 83, 96, 109, 114, 140, 141, 169, 175, 193, 249, 259, 274 and 293 all sold for, get this, $100. A seven day old friesian bull calf would worth twice as much. Obviously New Zealanders do not put much value on horse meat.

  • Lofty

    Well I have had the privilege of eating quite a few exotic meat types, none of which have really turned my guts.

    Dogs, cats, rats, snakes, water buffalo, grasshopper, monkey, etc as well as the ” normal ” meats mean protein, that’s all.