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February 14, 2013


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it's hit germany now and frozen prepared meals are being pulled off shelves.

i always knew it would be inevitable for me living here: someday i'd unwittingly eat horse. i cringed and tried my best, but not hard enough, to avoid it. because a few times i bought those frozen lasagnes at aldi. i see they are still in the stores last night, but i asked the checker when they'd be pulling them for dna testing.

on the news this morning, romanian horse welfare was described in detail. what i could understand was what you said, exactly. the plow horses, the surplus of horses suddenly not in use, and the "horse-meat-mafia", they actually call it that.

i read there is a horse meat mafia in florida, but they don't clandestinely sell meat mislabelled, they just are a horse eating culture and the police haven't been able to stop them. i assured my husband that it would be impossible to accidentally eat horse in america, because it's not part of the food supply at all anymore, whereas here horsemeat is next to the pork and beef in the store.

i suppose i should admit it's conceivable that it could happen back home.

i'm pissed off because this isn't some careless mistake i made, this is mislabelled food. i'm unamerican in that i trust government agencies to protect me, to be honest and do their jobs, and in this case i've been let down.

i read yesterday that in england the amount of horse in the beef products was 60%. someone needs to go to prison. (have they yet?)

(you mentioned meat pies - oooh how i miss them from home (and even more, australian meat pies!).

i eat chicken every day, and if it turns out to be cat or rabbit, well...ok. but how much horse have i eaten in the last 6 years. i almost don't want to know.

(p.s. i'm pro-humane slaughter and using horses for food is logical if they're intended for food. i just don't want to eat it myself, unless i was actually starving to death.)

White Horse Pilgrim

The whole problem in Europe is whether livestock is kept in humane conditions, or not. Things are better now that they were. But people want 'cheap' meat rather than eating vegetables, for goodness sake! Why eat something healthy that requires a bit of thought and effort to cook when one can visit the takeaway or microwave a pie?

When you visit, I'll buy some decent pies from the butcher, ones made from the animals that you can see in the fields. Of course these are £5 a pie, not £1 like in the supermarket, however we will appreciate the difference. (No horse or dog in there!)

To give a hint of just how bad catering can be here, in the canteen at work (where I refuse to eat anyway as the food is such crap) we were saying that horse meat would be an improvement - at least we'd know that the 'meat' had once been part of an animal. (Other times we ask 'whether the road-kill is responsibly sourced. Really most people in Britain tolerate such poor food.)

I think that someone will go to jail for fraud because they mislabelled meat to make a profit. But not for maltreating animals unfortunately.

And I hope that all the bad publicity makes Romanians look in the mirror. Because most often they react angrily to criticism because, in their opinion, 'everyone else is against them'. Like petulant teenagers 'it was always someone else'. Collectively it's like dealing with a psychically damaged person who's badly in need of therapy. But they have a nasty history of doing dirty deeds for Turks, fascists, communists and now mafia. Still, perhaps this will make some of them think?

Deb W

I find myself eating less and less meat because I don't trust big farmers, nor do I trust supermarkets. We are small farmers, (midwest US) we raise beef and some lamb. Our #1 customer makes and sells beef pies, the expensive kind, so we buy some back from her.

I'm not against humane treatment and slaughter of most animal species. I am against eating US horses, because there is no way to be sure the meat is drug free. It's criminal that we sell it to other countries. I also believe that when slaughter was legal here, there were many more horses being stolen, and dishonest kill buyers who would bring children with them and buy cheap horses and ponies from families who wanted to find good homes for their animals.

And then, like anyone who has owned and loved horses most of their lives, I've had horses who I knew gave me their trust, and did everything they could to please me. It would be almost impossible to look at them as a piece of meat, or to think that that was their only value.

Yes, we have some horse mafia in Florida, and illegal horse butchers. I don't know how many horses they have bought and sold for slaughter, but I know they have stolen and butchered hundreds. Only half a dozen people have been caught and charged with crimes.

White Horse Pilgrim

Over here all but poor quality horses are too expensive to be economic for meat production. However the native ponies are a different matter, with poorly-conformed examples selling at auction for a few pounds (like $10) and these clearly go for pet food (or, illegally, for human consumption).

However most domestic horses can't be slaughtered legally because of veterinary medications, and indeed most equine passports (which are compulsory now) are marked 'not for human consumption' which allows the veterinarian to use any drugs without concern about the food chain.

There have been problems with cattle, sheep and pigs being stolen from farms for slaughter. Most likely the meat was sold in a seedy bar or a housing project. It's become more of a problem lately because of the recession. Horses aren't taken so frequently because they are harder to transport and besides the criminals probably don't know how to butcher one.

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