Mr. Ed By Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet

February 23, 2011 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There’s a fair amount of fuss over LB305, a bill before the Unicameral that would implement a state meat and poultry inspection program. Apparently the bill is the first step toward the wholesale slaughter of every horse in Nebraska

horse processing plants in Nebraska. And that has people aghast.

What’s the big deal with horse meat anyway? That’s an honest question. I don’t get all the fuss. A hunk of animal carcass is a hunk of animal carcass. Why all the fretting about this particular kind of flesh?

I put my energy into caring about what happens to an animal while it’s alive. If you want to talk about living conditions or species preservation or methods of slaughter, I’m your man. What happens to the body after death generally doesn’t interest me. It is, after all, just a body. I would much rather the body be put to some use than no use.

Is it just the familiarity factor that drives horse meat antipathy? I can understand that, I suppose, although it doesn’t justify making the product illegal. What else makes horse meat so offensive?

And as long as we’re talking about horse meat I may as well ask: Have any of you ever had horse meat? I’ve never had the opportunity myself. I would try it if it were available. I’ll try most anything once.

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The Comments

ahuskerinkorea February 23, 2011 at 3:00pm

I actually just had horse for the first time here in Korea. It was actually quite tasty. Similar to beef in a way…but also a little more chewy and it hold flavor better.

I also don’t understand the differences. A cow…a horse…but still there is controversy. There is even controversy here in Korea where it is more readily available.

A lot of natives haven’t even tried it because of the perceived cultural taboo.

CS February 23, 2011 at 3:59pm

It probably has to do with anthropomorphizing the noble steed. Ive had horse as well, in Korea and Japan, and ordering it is no different than any other farmed meat. It’s actually cheaper (or was when I was there in 1996) than beef.

Robert February 24, 2011 at 9:05am

I’ve been blessed with opportunities to travel the world and to see what many others consider a decent meal.  Horses, dogs, cats, and bugs are all common fare in many other “civilized” places.

My takeaway lesson is that Western, and even more specifically, US culinary culture is not necessarily logical. There are many, many inconsistencies with regard to the fate of animal products in the US, many of which are based on shallow reasoning that is rarely examined, questioned or reformed. 

Unfortunately, many dietary habits are dictated by custom alone.  Consumption of horse meat is not common in the US and therefore not all that socially acceptable.  For another example…if US culture were more adaptable, insects might potentially provide a major source of protein. But there is a clear lack of social acceptance for such a pragmatic and logic way of serving dinner. Go Bugeaters!

Kudos to you for at least opening your mind to new possibilities.  Take heart that many of us share your open-mindedness and sense of culinary adventure.

Mr. T February 25, 2011 at 4:23am

Another peculiar thing I have noticed about the modern US (and some other western) food cultures is that when it comes to meat generally, we won’t eat it if the meat served reminds us that it was once part of an actual animal.

We prefer our meat processed and shaped into sausages, patties, or slabs, with fat and skin trimmed away, or fried into a nice, batter-covered golden brown. Organ meat in particular is shunned by many Americans (I count myself in that category too).

If the average American were to go to, say China or Pakistan or someplace where they serve chicken feet, bird’s heads, goat heads, cow hearts, or similar types of meat on sale, that would freak us out because it would remind us that the animal was once an actual sentient being that lived, breathed, ate, etc.

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