March 12th, 2013
10:45 AM ET
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soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ReadanArticleorTwobeforeYouTalk

    The Facts…

    They are not bad for you at all, it is strictly an anthropomorphic aversion.

    Humans have been hunting and eating wild horses since the end of the last ice age and, along with reindeer, the meat provided a vital source of protein. As early as 4000 BCE, however, fossil records indicate the beginning of equine domestication, which likely also marks the initial shift in the way that people thought about horses. One of the earliest public excoriations of horse meat consumption came from the Vatican in 732, when Pope Gregory III issued a ban on the practice, hoping to distance the church from what it considered a pagan predilection. Even still, horse meat remained a dietary staple in many parts of the world, especially Europe, with both France and Germany openly bucking the papal decree in the nineteenth century.

    The church’s stance undoubtedly had a lasting impact on public perception, though, and likely accounts for at least some of the broad aversion in English-speaking countries like the US, England, Ireland, Australia, and some parts of Canada. Observant Jews are also unable to eat horse meat because, as neither a ruminant nor a cloven-hoofed animal, it isn’t kosher. Psychologically, as horses assumed the familiar role of companions in battle and work, the idea of eating one must have become increasingly off-putting. And, although eaten by people of all classes throughout history, many cultures now associate horse meat with penury—a last resort when beef and pork are unaffordable. The practice has never taken hold in America, but, up until 2007 when the nation’s last horse abattoir was shuttered in Illinois, thousands of horses were slaughtered and processed here annually for export.

    So, who’s eating the equines? Figures from 2010 showed Mexico as the top producer of horse meat for that year with 140,000 tons, followed by China (126,000 tons) and Kazakhstan (114,000 tons). Although horse meat is still consumed in these countries, much of it is processed for export to Europe and Central Asia. In Japan, a popular horsemeat dish called basashi is served raw, sashimi style. In both Kazakhstan and South Korea, fat from the neck meat is prized for its flavor. Belgium, France, and Germany all have long and unapologetic roots in equine cuisine, and sauerbraten was originally prepared using horse. The meat is a staple in many Northern Italian and Sicilian preparations, and is incorporated into sausages and salamis, or served dried and shredded for a snack called sfilacci, which looks like a plate of deep red vermicelli. The Dutch and Swedish prefer it sliced thin for lunch meat. South Americans generally shy away from eating it, but several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, all process the meat for export. Many Canadians feel the same way about horse meat as Americans, but horse abattoirs still operate there and it’s very popular in Quebec, where you can find it in supermarkets, and other French-influenced regions.

    As for taste, horse meat is sweet and lean, but surprisingly, given its musculature, not very tough. It’s a red meat, with a taste somewhere between beef and venison, and connoisseurs are said to prefer it rare owing to how bloody the meat is, which imparts more flavor. One pound of horse meat has fewer calories, half as much fat, a quarter less cholesterol and almost twice as much iron as a similar serving of 90/10 ground beef.

    Is horse meat good for you? It’s a little better than beef. A three-ounce serving of roast horse has 149 calories, 24 grams of protein, and five grams of fat. The same amount of beef tenderloin has 179 calories, 24 grams of protein, and nine grams of fat. Horse milk, which some Central Asians drink in fermented form, has one-third the fat of cow’s milk.

    Read up before you spout off! Its NO different than a cow or a lamb or a chicken or a dog or cat... if you don't want it don't eat it, but don't try and tell me or the rest of the world what to eat based upon your feelings for your pet. Bottom line... its an animal..!


    November 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  2. hurley

    Have any one of you that support horse slaughter seen the mexican videos of it. Its horrifying!!!!! and it's not sick,old, or lame horses that die, it's pregnant mares, foals, and young stock, and mares that are bred for premarin and their foals are sold for slaughter, and not good enough race horses, people should be more responsilbe for breeding, sometimes the horses are not even dead before they slit their throats and bleed them out, it sickens me, it's all about money, yes there are abused horses out there, but they have a chance to be adopted, to good loving homes. It's all about greed, do you think the killer buyers care where your good horses go, well think again.

    April 14, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  3. WI Cowgirl

    I own, horses and we also take in horses that people have abandoned or abused. There is a true need in this country for these slaughter houses to open up, anyone who says differently has no clue about how the horse industry works. There is an over abundance of equines, for different reasons, over breeding, under training, and the economy. The horse market sucks and it's because the plants where closed and there is no one to feed these extra animals. They are needlessly suffering for weeks and months, when a a slaughter house the suffering would end for them much sooner. There are good and bad sides to every industry, know the facts before you judge. And yes I have eaten horse, while visiting Europe. It's no different for us eating beef when people of other cultures worship them.

    March 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • luvof horses

      I too have horses and like any animal that is under my care they are MY RESPONSIBLITY, anyone that has animals they need to care for them if they can't there are all kinds of avenues OTHER THAN TORTURE in a slaughter house!! BREEDERS need be held more accountable!
      You are always going to have irresponsible owners, but if you start this slaughter up there is only going to be more cases of stupidity with animal care!
      This is has got to stop for all of us here and abroad!! They use the excuse that the abused starving horses will have a place to go, OH MY GOD are you nuts or what, they don't want those horses when they do take them they leave them in pens out back to starve come on do your research...... WATCH a horse in slaughter plant IS THAT HUMANE? I think not, not even close... The big money pushing this don't care about the horse or the people it is MONEY GREED, We all in this country have the responsiblity to care for these Majestic Animals that has paved this country right along side us for centuries!!! THEY DESERVE our respect and care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mary

      You use yur so-called charity to abandoned & abused horses to make a profit from the very suffering you cause them when you make money off selling them to the slaughterhouse & kill lots – you're an evil liar profitting off of cruelty – if you realy cared about suffering, you'd euthenize them humanely instead of making a profit off their brutal torture & butchering. Don't piss on our legs & tell us its raining – you're transparent as hell – trying to make a justification for eating horse meat & you sound just like the barbaric butcher in Roswell who's trying to make people think he's helping the community with his greed & brutality – shame on YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 17, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • Mary

        The reply from Mary is for WI Cowgirl

        April 17, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • Il breeder

      I raise horses and because of the bad market I had to get rid of several of my mares llike many of my friends, and I am sure the went to slaughter. We slaughter alot more humanly in this country. Many good brrod mares went to there death . Horses are a live stock animal. My riding horse is a pet and when he got old I put him down and buried him. Wkhich I would do for any of my riding horses. Many; horses are not rideable and nothing you do will change that its have if there brains are scramabled and they need to be put down the cost is very expensive for this. Why not get some money for this horse and use it to buy yourself another horse. I had a friend whose horse developed a brain tumor. She was able to ssend it to Dekalb at that time and she got almost enough to buy a new horsse, which she wouldn't have been able to do. Look at how many dogs and cats get put down. When I raisse babies , I have them trained and sell them to good homes , I want to raise the best trail horse I can. Its a hobby and I don't really make any money and I am lucky if I break even.

      April 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  4. Tom Durfee

    Me and mine will boycott any place that sells or serves horse meat. As a horse owner and farmer I know the meat is poisonous.

    March 21, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  5. JJMAN1


    March 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • goodman5

      I find it hilarious that you compare the U.S. to a third world country as you post from a computer, in all caps.

      March 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Soulcatcher

    I've been saying that the texture of fajita meat that my wife buys from the hispanic store is wrong and is probably horse all along. It's a little too stringy

    March 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Still good, though, huh?

      March 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Jacob Moss Tulane Student

    I want to address some of the concerns that people have been voicing in this blog about the horse slaughter houses. I would also like to preface this post with the fact that horses are beautiful, smart, majestic animals and the idea of them going to slaughter is definitely sad. On that note it is pretty ridiculous that people are becoming outraged about these horse slaughter houses. First of all as it states in the video selling horse meat is still ILLEGAL in the US, so don't worry about whats in that McDonald's hamburger you're eating (its also probably worse meat than horse anyway). Second horse is a cheap source of meat for many people outside the US. For example many countries in Latin America eat horse because there is little beef in their own country (this is because it is sold to countries like the US who are willing to pay top dollar for beef) or the beef the is available is very expensive (again because most beef is sold internationally making it scarce in these countries). Third it seems that the only reason it seems that people have a problem eating horse is for cultural reasons and here is why. First it is not due to intelligence. Though horses are intelligent pigs are equally intelligent. Pigs are incredibly intelligent and have been used as pets (their owners say pigs are akin to dogs emotionally and intellectually) as well as seeing eye pigs for the blind. So until I see people blogging "BLTs are murder" im not super inclined to believe that intelligence is a factor at all. Second it doesn't it seem like it has anything with the ascetic beauty of the animal either since lamb chops are still a popular steakhouse favorite (possibly because lamb chop doesn't follow you around or bring you your slippers). Third for those people just saying let nature run its natural course and let all horses that people cannot afford to pay for starve (obviously this is only if no one will adopt the horse) I don't think you have thought about how much worse that is. For example if a prisoner was sentenced to death by being shot in the head or some other immediate means of execution it would not even make the news. On the other hand if that same prisoner was sentenced to death by starvation every human right group from here to Timbuktu would be throwing a fit and the UN/G5 would condemn that action as inhumane and torture. So i'm not sure why if a horse has to die starvation is preferable to a quick execution other than the fact that people don't like the idea of humans slaughtering horses. For these reason it seems that the only reason that people care at all about horse slaughter houses is cultural. This is fine for your personal choice (Im probably not going to eat horse for that reason) but if you are going to say using horses for meat is definitively wrong than you have to apply those same standards to all meat, or risk becoming ethnocentric hypocrites. Since it is clear that we cannot apply these standards universally we should probably leave it as a cultural difference that is neither better or worse than our own cultural norms.

    March 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Karen DeRoode

      amen, brother! Unfortuately, your post is well thought and argued, which makes it so long, most fluffy brains will not take the time to read it completely. :)

      March 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Ziggy Pope

      There is NO such thing as humane horse slaughter. None. Zip. Zero. Nada.

      Also how horribly cruel they are transported is beyond torture.

      March 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  8. rf

    Disgusting! and so sad!

    March 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  9. Denise

    My heart breaks over the decision to allow this. I cannot bear the pain and fear they suffer. This is not an animal to be slaughtered.

    March 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Andrea

      NO animal should be slaughtered, horses included. It is not right for any living thing to be murdered in such an inhumane way. No animal should be discriminated against.

      November 17, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  10. Elena

    After watching the segment last night that showed the process in which the horses would be liked and produced into meat, I was horrified. Horses are not meant to be decapitated and sliced into pieces and then ground together, leaving only the skeleton to be thrown away. It is illegal to sell horse meat in the US but it is not illegal to produce it. The slaughterhouse in New Mexico plans to slaughter these horses and sell them overseas. I do not believe we should be a part of this cruel process.

    March 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • max3333444555

      so instead of having a legal method of slaughtering these animals owners that cant support them or animals in distress would just be starved until they die? there is more than one side to everything.

      March 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
      • jess

        The biggest problem I have with horse slaughter is the fact that equines are given drugs, like wormers, that clearly are labeled "for not in use in horses intended for food" or some variation of it. (I'm a former horse owner... I'm very familiar with these labels)
        These medicines keep the horse healthy throughout it's life, but what would any residues in meat do to humans who consume it? They receive medications that are banned by the FDA and (EU) for use on food animals on a regular basis. Antibiotics, bute, wormers, bronchodilators... Their drugs can be toxic to humans and there's no system in place to record the drugs a horse has taken.

        March 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • Elena

        I understand that but in my opinion I feel like it would be better to let them die off naturally as they have been doing for the past years that the slaughterhouse has been closed.

        March 13, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • akismet-68f9afc29cb829d1b89f71b63bff8bd9

          They have not just been letting them die naturally, they have been transporting the horses to slaughter houses in Mexico, long, cramped, hot journeys. Worse than quick death.

          March 15, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  11. Arthur in the Garden!

    Big deal! Meat is meat. I limit my intake but if I ate red meat I would see no difference between goat, cow, sheep (lamb), or horse.

    March 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • eventersmom

      Dear Mr. Big Deal meat is meat: Why stop there? Hell, now you've got me thinking about human meat, especially with how BIG and PLUMP Americans are getting lately. Yum Yum....... YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

      March 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Arthur in the Garden!

        Eatting humans would be different dummy. Eatting a cow would be unheard of in Hindu India. Eatting pigs would be sinfull in an Islamic country. Horse meat is no different the cows, goat, or sheep.Or eatting dogs in Asia, for that matter!

        March 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • hurley

          I agree your an idiot

          April 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  12. JGN

    It's not disgust at the fact that horse can be eaten and even savored. I hear dog is quite tasty too. But Americans simply do NOT need more meat in their diets. The cost of meat eating (and I say this as someone who loves a good steak, so keep your hats on cowboys) goes way way beyond dollars. The inefficient use of land for growing corn and grain to feed cattle and pigs, as well as the more personal toll of heart disease, colon cancer, and general ill health from obesity are all contributors to the growing realization that, while meat is an excellent source of protein and very satisfying, we just eat too much of it. Period. As for truly poor people who cannot afford beef at high prices, they won't be able to afford horse either so that is a moot point.
    We could truly benefit as a country if we would cut down on meat intake and leave more land for growing fruits and vegetables or just as open land to renew wildlife habitats. No one would suffer from turning away from meaty fast food choices every day of their lives and there simply is no need to slaughter horses, which we have long thought of as companionable work and play friends. It's ridiculous.

    March 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      You're wrong. Zombies are on a meat only diet and never die of anything short of murder and never get fat.

      March 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  13. Janice

    Back in the 70's when Americans were waiting in long lines to get fuel and beef prices skyrocketed, I decided to try one of the butcher shops that sprang up selling horse meat. AFTER you get over the fact that you are not eating Black Beauty, the taste is not unlike that of grain fed elk. It is very lean but flavorful. Keep your minds open people. If you are a meat eater, don't reply to my comment in disgust, because horses are slaughtered in the very same conditions as cows.

    March 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      I'm open to trying it. The problem is, I watched this segment last night and came to the conclusion that horses are a much smarter animal than cows (obviously) and have a much higher sense of danger, self, etc. which demands a much different slaughtering process than mindless cows.

      Which is the same reason so many people are against it.

      I also wonder if the horse had never been domesticated and broken (wild horses still exist) if some people would be so dead set against it. More people are down with killing wolves and coyotes, but send money left and right to the ASPCA.

      March 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
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