There’s nothing wrong with horse meat. Horses are healthy, clean, athletic, and mad. Their flesh is low in fat and full of flavour – rather like Labrador. No, the problem is not with horses per se. There are other, quite valid, reasons to object to this animal turning up unexpectedly in your burger.
The first of course is that an animal has turned up unexpectedly in your burger. It’s more than a bit disconcerting. And, disrespectful. If a waiter brought you something you didn’t order and when you objected told you it didn’t actually matter what you ate, you’d be annoyed. We want to know what we’re putting in our mouths. To an extent I mean. We’re all aware that sausages are made out of eyelashes and earwax, but we’re prepared for that. Beef – or ‘beef’ – we at least expect to be made out of cows’ eyelashes and earwax.
And then there’s this worry: Remember bovine brain and spine matter. How can we feel sure they’re successfully keeping that out if entire horses can slip in? It’s an awful thing for the image of the food industry. Now probably it’s perfectly good terribly bad meat, sourced on the continent as a legal, safe, and seriously cheap filler ingredient for barely-edible bargain burgers. It’s just that somewhere along the way someone missed a memo about what is considered a food in some markets and a friend in others.
So I think it shouldn’t be destroyed. I’d eat it. Once they test it for everything from BSE to cat AIDS, I’d eat it. Whatever about the morality of meat, it’s clearly immoral to kill something and then refuse to eat it – not to mention rude. And as meat in itself is incredibly wasteful – the same amount of land feeds around twenty times as many people on a vegetable diet – it’s just stupendously wasteful to waste meat.
Or well, waste hair follicles and mechanically recovered connective tissue.