Are You Unknowingly Eating Horse Meat?

The rash of horse killings increases the chances of you buying and eating horse meat

By Carlos Miller
|  Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009  |  Updated 12:30 PM EDT
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Are You Unknowingly Eating Horse Meat?

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With the rash of horse slaughters in South Florida, the chances of you unknowingly buying and eating horse meat increases.

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As a rash of horse killings plague South Florida, the odds of you unknowingly ingesting horse meat increases.

But that’s only if you purchase meat from an unlicensed meat vendor, such as from somebody selling meat from the back of their vehicle – which is not the most uncommon thing to do in Miami.

You might not be able to tell the difference between packaged horse meat and cow meat because they both look the same, according to the Caribbean National Weekly.

And once you bite into it, you might be surprised by how sweet and tender it tastes.

You might even ask for seconds.

The truth is, horse meat is a delicacy in many parts of the world.

In Belgium, it is served as steak tartare, where the raw horse meat is marinated in wine and other spices before it is served.

In certain regions of Italy, it is served in stew or made into sausage or even prepared as a basic steak.

And in Japan, it is served raw with soy sauce, ginger and onions, not much different than sushi.

Holland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland also have popular horse recipes.

In fact, horse meat has been a source of food since the beginning of civilization. And it was even common in the United States during the post-World War II years when beef and pork were scarce.

Even up to the late 1970s, the Harvard Faculty Club served horse steaks, which was one of the most common menu items.

But it has generally been a taboo in the United States because of our cowboy culture. We've always viewed horses as pets, friends, work tools and modes of transportation. We’ve come to love our horses.

In Europe, the relationship with horses was much more depersonalized.

Nevertheless, thousands of horses were slaughtered in the United States and exported for human consumption until 2007 when Congress ordered them shut down.

But even today, several groups are pushing to renew the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption.

Despite the recent law, the slaughter of American horses for human consumption has not stopped because now horses are transported to Canada and Mexico before they are slaughered.

In South Florida, 18 horses have been found slaughtered since the beginning of the year – and many more have been stolen - making it obvious that many in our international community don’t view the consumption of horse meat as taboo.

It’s gotten so bad that horse owners and supporters gathered in Homestead this weekend in a community rally to discuss ways of putting a stop to the ongoing slaughter.

Richard Couto of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals attended the rally and said they are setting up surveillance cameras to catch the suspects (check out the video).

The slaughtered meat is said sell for up to $40 a pound. But because these horses are not bred for consumption, meaning they may be getting treated with equine medications, the meat can be contaminated.

So if you really want to try horse meat, don’t buy it off the black market. Don’t encourage the slaughter of somebody’s pet.

Simply pick up the phone and call The Meatman, a St. Petersburg-based company that specializes in exotic meats, including horse meat.

While they don’t stock the meat, they will order it from a USDA-approved foreign supplier.
 

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