Food: Horsemeat




Dick Hancock reported:  From my years as a horse owner and from a one-year stint working on a cattle and horse ranch after my retirement from the University of Oklahoma, I can say that horses sold for meat is a common practice in Oklahoma.  I have been to horse auctions where the principal buyers were buying for horse packing houses, one in Ft. Worth and another in Omaha.  At one point the owner of the horse auction house in Sulphur, Oklahoma told me that the best quality of the horses killed went to France and the poorest end went to Japan. From the UK, George Sassoon comments: I'm sure that Glenye Caine won't like that!  Nor that 'equine animals' in the UK now need passports at vast expense, in which all drugs they are given must be entered, in case they are sold to Europe as food animals. RH: Believe it or not, there is in Oklahoma a place called Sulphur (population 5,000+) just north of the Texas border.  No, I could find no town named brimstone, which is the same as sulphur. Glenye must think that the horsemeat vendors deserve to spend their lives in sulphur and brimstone. We could discuss food taboos around the world. The sentimental English do not eat horse, dog or vat.  The French eat horsemeat, and during the siege of 1870 Parisians were reduced to eating rats.  Can anyone report on the taste of rats?
From the UK, George Sassoon commented on eating horseflesh: I'm sure that Glenye Caine won't like that!  Nor that 'equine animals' in the UK now need passports at vast expense, in which all drugs they are given must be entered, in case they are sold to Europe as food animals. Glenye replies: I have little experience with Britain's equine passport system, never having taken a horse there. I had the vague idea that the passports were used mainly for recording vaccinations. Which raises a subject I've always found interesting: the difference in British and American attitudes to "live-virus" versus "killed-virus" vaccines. When I used to write about this stuff regularly,  the British were exceedingly wary of live-virus vaccines and were not inclined to allow horses vaccinated with them into the country, as they considered the horse to have been exposed to the disease (there was a bit of an escape hatch; in the case of diseases that could only be passed in breeding, the British vets would conduct, for example, a semen test on stallions proposed for importation; if the stallion was not shedding the disease, I think they would let him in, even though he blood-tested positive due to vaccine-induced exposure).

I found it interesting that the British and the Americans had such a strong philosophical difference about vaccines, which I imagine must also have applied in their views of human vaccines. Does it?

As for horsemeat vendors, well, obviously I would prefer horses not be slaughtered (or dogs, either--that is especially dreadful to me, even worse than horse slaughter somehow). However, if they must be, I reluctantly acknowledge that I would rather they go to good use refurbishing Mr. Sassoon's bagpipes! I hope, given the animal rightists' recent success with the hunt ban in Britain, that Mr. Sassoon and his horsehide pipe-bags will not be attacked by a swarm of masked "bagpipe saboteurs" while piping!
From the UK, George Sassoon commented:  As for horsemeat, well, obviously I would prefer horses not be slaughtered (or dogs, either--that is especially dreadful to me, even worse than horse slaughter somehow).
Gene Franklin comments:Those interested in this topic should read an article in the New York Times
(1/4/05) on the fate of wild horses in the US west. Killing them is banned, so they overbreed to the point of starvation. Is that a better fate? I don't think so. Is selling them for food a 'good use'?  I don't know.   RH: Banned? Didn't Dick Hancock tell us about slaughtering horses for food in Oklahoma?

 



Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: March 17, 2005