Horses Deserve Better Than Ending Up as Pet Food: A Gourmet View?
By Simeon Isaker
I will begin this article with a warning that the content that follows contains views and information which some people may find shocking. You may not agree with them but they are put forward with the issue of increased sustainability at the heart of the matter. In my opinion, horses deserve better than ending up as pet food: a gourmet view? Possibly, but more importantly it evaluates their existence at a higher level than the current situation.
The horse racing industry in Australia is estimated to produce fifteen thousand thoroughbred foals each year and at the same time some twenty five thousand thoroughbred horses are sent to slaughter each year; due to injuries and not being economically worth training and racing. The large majority of them end up as pet food. However, two thousand tonnes of horse meat is exported to Japan and Europe for human consumption. Now, ultimately, horse racing should be banned worldwide and the so called ‘sport of kings’ should be consigned to the pages of history. Horse race betting is not an essential entertainment industry in Australia or anywhere. In the meantime, I ask myself why we discriminately eat some animals and not others?
The French and the Spanish value horse meat highly and yet we consign it to the wasteful and misguided use of being pet food. Horses can run fast and they carried human beings on their back for millennia. Is this why we exempt them from our food chain but happily slaughter cows, sheep, pigs and goats (to name but a few) for our consumption? Do we have a psychological affinity with the horse, like the dog, which makes it sacred, so that it ends up in a tin of dog food?
There are, actually, two butchers, one in Perth and one in Sydney, who are licensed to sell horse meat in Australia for human consumption. Twenty years ago lamb shanks were fed to dogs as pet food and now they are valued for their gourmet value. We, now, waste less of the animals slaughtered for food production in this country; thanks to the input of the many migrants who have come to Australia. We use carcasses to make stocks and so, do not waste them. Sustainability within meat processing has increased over the last couple of decades and reconsidering horse meat for human consumption may be a better use of this valuable food source.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of Eco Living Magazine, but we encourage the expression of new ideas for debate.