“Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.”
Leviticus 11:3 (KJV)
“Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.”
Deuteronomy 14:7 (KJV)
Source Article Link: CSMonitor
Way cleared for horse slaughter to resume in US after 5-year ban
Congress has restored funding for US inspectors to oversee horse slaughter, paving the way for slaughter and processing to resume for the first time since 2006. Animal rights groups are livid.
By Patrik Jonsson
What to do about growing numbers of neglected and abandoned horses in the US is an ethical conundrum that Congress and President Obama quietly addressed this month via a spending bill: bring back the slaughterhouses.
A Department of Agriculture bill, signed into law Nov. 18, reinstates federal funding for USDA inspection of horse meat intended for human consumption, which Congress had withheld since 2006. That de facto ban on horse slaughter has now come to an end, to the outrage of the animal rights community, amid reports that US horse owners were simply shipping their animals to Mexico and Canada for slaughter and processing. (Emphasis added by me)
According to a pro-slaughter group called United Horsemen, meat processors are now considering opening facilities in at least a half-dozen states, including Georgia, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, and possibly Idaho.
The issue has galvanized the animal rights community, which contends that horses are too intelligent to be food animals, and that legal processing of horse meat will endanger wild horse populations and motivate Americans to raise horses specifically for human consumption.
The other view, accepted by Congress after a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), is that more abandoned and neglected horses in the US – which has 9 million equines – are being sold and processed for meat anyway in countries that may not have the same standard of humane euthanasia that US law requires. Government statistics show that 138,000 American horses were sold and processed for meat in other countries in 2010 – a 660 percent increase from 2007, according to the GAO report.
“We can’t monitor horse slaughter in a plant in Mexico or Canada … [a]nd so we don’t know if it’s being done humanely or not because the USDA obviously doesn’t have any jurisdiction there,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R) of Georgia, who was instrumental in the reinstatement, told the Oklahoman newspaper’s Sonya Colberg and Chris Casteel. “Along the way, these horses are having a rough transit. USDA does not have the jurisdiction over how the animals are treated along the way.”
The poor economy has been tough on horse owners and the animals themselves, leading to what Representative Kingston calls an “unanticipated problem with horse neglect and abandonment.” In Colorado alone, horse abandonment “increased 60 percent from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009,” the GAO report stated.
What’s more, The New York Times reports that the law forced many breeders and owners to go out of business because their inability to sell horses for meat “removed the floor” for prices while forcing owners to shoulder costs for euthanizing and disposing of unwanted horses. Before the ban, the horse slaughter business generated some $65 million in revenues a year.
“When they closed the plants, that put more of a hardship on our horses than the people who wanted to stop the slaughter can imagine,” said John Schoneberg, a Nebraska horse breeder, according to the Times report.
Nevertheless, animal rights activists are furious over the decision to bring back horse processing plants in the US. They say that ending the de facto ban will challenge the ethics of horse ownership and undermine the sanctity of the unique bond between humans and horses.
“They’re signing the death sentence for thousands of our American horses. The wild mustangs in Oklahoma and every horse in Oklahoma is at risk,” Oklahoma City horse advocate Stephanie Graham told the Oklahoman. “Horses are going to die and it’s going to be brutal.”
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Horse meat consumption in various countries
In 2009, a British agriculture industry website reported the following horse meat production levels in various countries:
|Country||Tons per year|
- * Including donkeys.
Australians do not generally eat horse meat, although they have a horse slaughter industry that exports to Japan, Europe, and Russia. Horse meat exports peaked at 9,327 tons 1986, declining to 3,000 tons in 2003. The two abattoirs in Australia licensed to export horse meat are Belgian-owned. They are at Peterborough in South Australia (Metro Velda Pty Ltd) and Caboolture abattoir in Queensland (Meramist Pty Ltd). A British agriculture industry website reported that Australian horse meat production levels had risen to 24,000 tons by 2009.
On 30 June 2010, Agriculture Minister Terry Redman granted final approval to Western Australia butcher Vince Garreffa to sell horse meat for human consumption. Nedlands restaurateur Pierre Ichallalene announced plans to do a taster on Bastille Day and to put horse meat dishes on the menu if there’s a good reaction. Mr. Redman said that the Government would “consider extending approvals should the public appetite for horse demand it”.
Mr. Garreffa is the owner of Mondo Di Carne, a major wholesale meat supplier which supplies many cafes restaurants & hotels in Western Australia. He commented that there is no domestic market for horse meat, but there is a successful export market, which he believes Western Australia should have a share of.
By July 2, an online petition had been created to stop the sale of horse meat for human consumption in Western Australia. This decision has caused some outrage with a petition started to be signed to overturn this decision from the Department of Agriculture. However several local newspaper forums indicated that the general public were not greatly biased either way, in fact many voiced their openness for alternate meats.
Horse meat is not available in most parts of China, although it is generally acceptable to Chinese. Its lack of popularity is mostly due to its low availability and some rumors saying that horse meat tastes bad or it is bad for health, even poisonous. In Compendium of Materia Medica, a pharmaceutical text published in 1596, Li Shizhen wrote “To relieve toxin caused by eating horse meat, one can drink carrot juice and eat almond.” Today, in southern China, there are locally famous dishes such as Horse Meat Rice Vermicelli (马肉米粉) in Guilin. In the northwest, Kazakhs eat horse meat (see below). In Hebei province and Beijing, Donkey Sandwich （驴肉火烧） is a popular snack.Donkey Sandwich is made of stewed donkey meat in a baked Chinese bun. The two most popular versions of Donkey Burger originate from Hejian and Baoding in Hebei province.
In Kazakhstan horse meat is a large part of the diet, due mainly to the nomadic roots of the population. Some of the dishes include sausages called kazy and shuzhuk made from the meat using the guts as the sausage skin, zhaya made from hip meat which is smoked and boiled, zhal made from neck fat which is smoked and boiled, karta made from a section of the rectum which is smoked and boiled, and sur-yet which is kept as dried meat.
In Indonesia, one type of satay (chunks of grilled meat served with spicy sauce) known as Horse Satay (Javanese:sate jaran, Indonesian:sate kuda) is made from horse meat. This delicacy from Yogyakarta is served with sliced fresh shallot (small red onion), pepper, and sweet soy sauce.
In Japanese cuisine, raw horse meat is called sakura (桜) or sakuraniku (桜肉, sakura means cherry blossom, niku means meat) because of its pink color. It can be served raw as sashimi in thin slices dipped in soy sauce, often with ginger and onions added. In this case, it is called basashi (Japanese: 馬刺し). Basashi is popular in some regions of Japan and is often served at izakaya. Fat, typically from the neck, is also found as basashi, though it is white, not pink. Horse meat is also sometimes found on menus for yakiniku (a type of barbecue), where it is called baniku (馬肉, literally, “horse meat”) or bagushi (馬串, “skewered horse”); thin slices of raw horse meat are sometimes served wrapped in a shiso leaf. Kumamoto, Nagano and Ōita are famous for basashi, and it is common in the Tohoku region as well. Some types of canned “corned meat” in Japan include horse as one of the ingredients. There is also a dessert made from horse meat called basashi ice cream. The company that makes it is known for its unusual ice cream flavors, many of which have limited popularity.
Mongolia, a nation famous for its nomadic pastures and equestrian skills, also includes horse meat on the menu. Mongolians also make a horse milk wine, called airag. Salted horse meat sausages called kazy are produced as a regional delicacy by the Kazakhs in Bayan-Ölgii aimag. In modern times, Mongols prefer beef and mutton, though during the extremely cold Mongolian winter, many people prefer horse meat due to its low cholesterol. It is kept non-frozen and traditionally people think horse meat helps warms them up.
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In Tonga, horsemeat or “lo’i ho’osi” is much more than a just a delicacy; the consumption of horsemeat is generally only reserved for special occasions. These special occasions may include the death of an important family member or community member or as a form of celebration during the birthday of an important family member or perhaps the visitation of someone important like the King of Tonga.
In Tonga, a horse is one of the most valuable animals a family can own because of its use as a beast of burden. Therefore the slaughter of one’s horse for the purpose of consumption becomes a moment of immense homage to the person or event the horse was slain for. Despite a diaspora into Western countries like Australia, USA and New Zealand where consumption of horsemeat is generally tabooed, Tongans still practice the consumption of horse meat perhaps even more so because it is more readily available and more affordable.
Horse Leberkäse is available and quite popular at various hot dog stands. Dumplings can also be prepared with horse meat, spinach or Tyrolean Graukäse (a sour milk cheese). They are occasionally eaten on their own, in a soup, or as a side-dish.
In Belgium, horse meat (paardenvlees in Dutch and viande chevaline in French) is highly prized. It is used in steak tartare, in which, compared to the beef equivalent, the richer flavor of the horse meat lends itself better to the pungent seasoning used in preparation. Besides being served raw, it can be broiled for a short period, producing a crusty exterior and a raw, moist interior. Smoked horse meat is very popular as breakfast and sandwich meat. Horse steaks are also very popular; the city of Vilvoorde has a few restaurants specializing in this dish. Horse-sausage is a well known local specialty in Lokeren with European recognition.
In France, specialized butcher shops (boucheries chevalines) sell horse meat, as ordinary butcher shops have been for a long time forbidden to deal in it. However, since the 1990s, it can be found in supermarket butcher shops and others.
In Germany, horse meat is occasionally used in Sauerbraten, a strongly marinated type of sweet-sour braised meat dish. Other traditional horse meat dishes include the Bavarian Rosswurst (horse sausage). In recent times, the eating of horse meat has become a controversial issue and beef is nowadays often substituted for the horse meat in Sauerbraten. However, horse meat, sold by specialized Pferdemetzgereien (horse butcheries), is still occasionally used for steaks, roasts and goulash by many people in all parts of Germany, since it is supposed to be healthier than beef and pork while being cheaper than venison. It is however far from a common supermarket item. In particular, cat and dog breeders and owners value horse meat as a lean and healthy pet food.
In Iceland, it is both eaten minced and as steak, also used in stews and fondue, prized for its strong flavor. It has a particular role in the culture and history of the island, as its consumption was one of the concessions won when the pagan Norse Icelanders eventually adopted Christianity in the year 1000.
Italian cuisine is highly regional: thus, horse meat is popular e.g. in Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Parma, and Sardinia; while it is not very popular in most part of Italy, used just by a few consumers or even seen as a bad thing (like eating a pet).
Horse meat is used in a stew called pastissada (typical of Verona), served as horse or colt steaks, as carpaccio, or made into bresaola. Horse fat is used in recipes such as pezzetti di cavallo. In the region of Veneto a dish is prepared which consists of shredded, cured horse meat on a bed of arugula, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Also in Veneto, horse meat sausages called salsiccia di equino or salami; and thin strips of horse meat called sfilacci are sold (a popular local pizza is made with sfilacci on it). In Veneto a smaller horse steak is typical and often called, with a Venetian name, straeca. In Sardinia sa pezz’e cuaddu is one of the most renowned meats and is sold in typical kiosks with bread panino con carne di cavallo. Chefs and consumers tend to prize its uniqueness by serving it as rare as possible. Donkey is also cooked, for example as a pasta sauce called stracotto d’asino. The cuisine of Parma features a horsemeat tartare called “pesto di cavallo”, as well as various cooked dishes.
According to British food writer Matthew Fort, “The taste for donkey and horse goes back to the days when these animals were part of everyday agricultural life. In the frugal, unsentimental manner of agricultural communities, all the animals were looked on as a source of protein. Waste was not an option.”
Horse meat is commonly found on menus in Luxembourg.
In the Netherlands, smoked horse meat (paardenrookvlees) is sold as sliced meat and eaten on bread. There are also beef-based variants. Horse meat is also used in sausages (paardenworst and frikandel), fried fast food snacks and ready-to-eat soups.
In Norway, horse meat is commonly used in cured meats, such as vossakorv and svartpølse, and less commonly as steak, hestebiff.
In pre-Christian Norway, horse was seen as an expensive animal. To eat a horse was to show that you had great wealth, and to sacrifice a horse to the gods was seen as the greatest gift you could give. When Norwegians adopted Christianity, horse-eating became taboo as it was a religious act for pagans, and thus it was considered a sign of heresy.
Horse meat is used in production of kabanos, but it has recently been declining in popularity. Live, old horses are often being exported to Italy to be slaughtered. This practice also garners controversy. Horses in Poland are treated mostly as companions and the majority of society is against the live export to Italy. You can find some shelters for old and unwanted horses that are rescued from slaughter, The Tara Rescue and The Animals of Eulalia Faundation.
Horse meat is generally available in Serbia, though mostly shunned in traditional cuisine. It is, however, often recommended by General Practitioners to persons who suffer from anoemia. It is available to buy at three green markets in Belgrade, a market in Niš, and in several cities in ethnically mixed Vojvodina, where Hungarian and previously German traditions brought the usage.
Horse meat is generally available in Slovenia, and is highly popular in the traditional cuisine, especially in the central region of Carniola and in the Kras region. Colt steak (žrebičkov zrezek) is available in some restaurants and there is a popular fast-food restaurant in Ljubljana called Hot-Horse that serves hamburgers made of horse meat.
Smoked/cured horse meat is widely available as a cold cut under the name hamburgerkött (hamburger meat). It tends to be very thinly sliced and fairly salty, slightly reminiscent of deli-style ham. Gustafskorv, a smoked sausage made from horse meat, is also quite popular, especially in the province of Dalarna, where it’s made. It is similar to salami or medwurst and is used as an alternative to them on sandwiches. It is also possible to order horse beef from some well-stocked grocery stores.
The ordinance on foodstuffs of animal origin in Switzerland explicitly list equines as an animal species allowed for the production of food. Horse steak is quite common, especially in the French-speaking west, but also more and more in the German-speaking part. A speciality known as mostbröckli is made with beef or horse meat. Horse meat is also used for a great range of sausages in the German-speaking north of Switzerland. Like in northern Italy, in the Italian-speaking South, local “salametti” (sausages) are sometimes made with horse meat. Horse meat may also be used in Fondue Bourguignonne.
In the United Kingdom, the slaughter, preparation and consumption of horses for food is not against the law, although in practice it has been out of fashion since the 1930s and there is a strong taboo against it. It was eaten when other meats were scarce, such as during times of war (as was whale meat, never popular and now also taboo). The sale of horse meat in supermarkets and butchers is minimal, and most of the horse meat consumed in the UK is imported from Europe, predominantly the South of France, where it is more widely available. Horse meat may be consumed inadvertently. A 2003 Food Standards Agency investigation revealed that salami and similar products such as chorizo and pastrami sometimes contain horse meat without this ingredient being listed. Listing is legally required.
In Ukraine, especially in Crimea and other southern steppe regions, horse meat is consumed in the form of sausages called Mahan and Sudzhuk. These particular sausages are traditional food of the Crimean Tatar population.
Agriculture in Quebec seems to prosper under the prohibitions from the United States. There is a thriving horse meat business in Quebec; the meat is available in most supermarket chains. Horse meat is also for sale at the other end of the country, in Granville Island Market in downtown Vancouver where, according to a Time magazine reviewer who smuggled it into the United States, it turned out to be a “sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, closer to beef than venison”. Horse meat is also available in high end Toronto butchers and supermarkets. Aside from the heritage of French cuisine at one end of the country and the adventurous foodies of Vancouver at the other, however, the majority of Canada shares the horse meat taboo with the rest of the Anglosphere. This mentality is especially evident in Alberta, where strong horse racing and breeding industries and cultures have existed since the province’s founding.
Horse meat is rarely eaten in the United States. Horses are raised instead as pets, for working purposes (Farming, police work, and ranching), or for sport. Horse meat holds a very similar taboo in American culture, the same as the one found in the United Kingdom previously described, except that it is rarely even imported.
Restriction of human consumption of horse meat in the U.S. has generally involved legislation at the state and local levels. In 1915, for example, the New York City Board of Health amended the sanitary code, making it legal to sell horse meat. During World War II, due to the low supply and high price of beef, New Jersey legalized its sale, but at war’s end, the state again prohibited the sale of horse meat.
In 1951, Time magazine reported from Portland, OR: “Horsemeat, hitherto eaten as a stunt or only as a last resort, was becoming an important item on Portland tables. Now there were three times as many horse butchers, selling three times as much meat.” Noting that “people who used to pretend it was for the dog now came right out and said it was going on the table,” and providing tips for cooking pot roast of horse and equine fillets. A similar situation unfolded in 1973, when inflation raised the cost of traditional meats. Time reported that “Carlson’s, a butcher shop in Westbrook, CT that recently converted to horse meat exclusively, now sells about 6,000 pounds of the stuff a day.” The shop produced a 28-page guide called “Carlson’s Horsemeat Cook Book” with recipes for chili con carne, German meatballs, beery horsemeat, and more.
California Proposition 6 (1998) was passed by state voters, outlawing the consumption of horse meat in California and barring slaughter of horses for human consumption.
Until 2007, a few horse meat slaughterhouses still existed in the United States, selling meat to zoos to feed their carnivores, and exporting it for human consumption, but the last one, Cavel International in Dekalb, Illinois, was closed by court order in 2007. The closure reportedly caused a surplus of horses in Illinois.
In Chile, it is used in charqui. Both in Chile, horse meat was the main source of nutrition for the nomadic indigenous tribes, which promptly switched from a guanaco-based economy to a horse-based one when the horses brought by the Spaniards bred naturally and became feral. This applies specially for the Pampa and Mapuche nations, who become fierce warriors on horseback. Pretty much like the Tatars, they ate raw horse meat and milked their animals.