Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Horse Burgers

It seems that scandal has erupted over the presence of horse meat in beefburgers. Apparently burgers sold as beef in fact contained both horse and pig meat. This is mentioned in the BBC report, but what I find strange is that the main focus seems to be given to the horse element.

I'd have thought it far worse that these burgers contain pig, given that many people have moral/religious objections to eating pork. No one, so far as I know, has any particular moral objection to eating horse (ethical vegetarians do of course object to eating horse but not horse in particular - they wouldn't eat beef either for the same reasons).

Of course it's true that horses aren't usually considered food in the UK, but there's no particular reason for this - I understand that the French happily eat horse meat. I think this highlights the somewhat arbitrary nature of what is and is not considered food, particularly when it comes to animals. (A further BBC feature follows this up, here.) But it's also surprising to see more focus here on what I take to be an aesthetic matter than a religious/moral one, given that most people usually hold the latter to be more important.

(Of course I don't mean to deny that there's a general objection here that consumers were misled about the content of what they were eating, which may be the most serious issue of all - but this doesn't explain the focus on horse meat.)


  1. WillS8:10 pm

    The same thing occurred to me.
    There are some people that think of horses as pets, so the thought of eating them makes them very uncomfortable.
    But the pork in halal (and other) meat products seems more important, particularly when these products were found in schools and prisons.
    Most parents can chose to give their children packed lunches. But what about those who are on free school meals? Like those in prison they can't pick where their food is coming from.