Friday, 8 February 2013

Horse meat in lasagne - what's the big deal?

I have just been watching the news and all the furore over horse meat in food from Findus, Tesco and Aldi, and I just had to write this. It's outrageous for lots of reasons, one of the main ones being that if I wanted to eat horse meat I would buy horse meat. If I buy something that is labelled as beef lasagne then I expect it to be beef - otherwise the product is lying yes?

And now according to the news on ITV, the government cannot guarantee that horse meat hasn't gone into school dinners and hospital food. I wonder how the people who have eaten it would feel about that if they knew? I know for a fact, without even asking her, how Dot would feel.

Are you saying oh well, horse meat is still meat, it won't harm and lots of people in the world eat it. I know. But are you sure it won't harm?

Where has this horse meat come from? Again the news on ITV has just spoken about a criminal conspiracy being to blame. Take it further and think where the horses come from? I'm sure horses destined for the food chain are safe to eat, but can I enlighten you as to what happens with horses, pet horses who aren't supposed to end up in the food chain?

When they are ill the vet prescribes drugs for them and of course we, as devoted owners, are over the moon to have them. When my darling horse John was ill last year he had to have several horse medicines to help him in his battle to get well. On giving me these my vet asked for his horse passport so he could write in there that John was not to end up in the food chain. Horses are big animals and horse drugs are powerful. Even the horse painkiller that I guess most owners use, bute, packs one helluva punch - it has to if it's going to stop pain in the horse. A couple of paracetamol just aren't going to cut it with an animal that, in John's case, weighed getting on for three quarters of a tonne

So are you sure the horse meat is safe? I heard that bute had been found in some of the samples tested. I don't know if that's right but I wouldn't be surprised.

I know that some horses are bred for meat - and I'm sure the people that farm them are careful about what, if any, drugs these meat horses are given. But what we're talking about here isn't legit, if it was it would be labelled as horse meat and not passed off as beef yes? See where I'm going with this? 

Perhaps I'm way off base with this next thought: I heard on the news that the horse meat in question came from France and Ireland. I don't know about France but it's well known that there has been a big problem in Ireland with horses being abandoned due to the awful recession that means owners can't afford to keep them... sorry, I can't help thinking it. I'm not talking about owners here, but as ITV news put it, criminal conspiracies.

So to sum up, I say to those people who think that the fuss about horse meat is no big deal, those people who think meat is meat no matter what kind it is.... are you sure?



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for popping by and commenting, but I don't understand what you're agreeing to...

  2. Thank you for your views from a different perspective, I never really thought of it like that. It's not really affected me and my family because I don't buy these things, I make everything from scratch and buy my meat from a local butcher, who hopefully I can trust. It is certainly a worry.

    1. Hi Anne, thank you for taking the time to comment. As a horsey person I can see there are real risks from allowing pet horses into the food chain. As a horse lover, what has happened to these poor animals breaks my heart. As a parent, it deeply worries me that my beloved daughter may have been exposed to this meat through school dinners.

  3. Eek, this is scary! I've been hearing stuff on the radio about how horse medications should never ever end up in the food chain. The whole thing is a bit sickening purely because of that.

    1. Hi Steph, I agree.

      Horses need medication when they're ill just as any other animal does and as a horse lover I would not hesitate to give drugs to my horse if he needed them (indeed in the year before he died he was ill on three separate occasions and received painkillers, anti inflammatories and various other drugs from his vet). That's me being a responsible owner and loving my horse. As a responsible owner I also made sure he would never end up in the food chain - his passport was signed by the vet to ensure he didn't end up in that way and his ashes, bless him, are still sitting in a wooden box in my living room while I decide where to scatter them. (I'm not mad, I just can't bear for him to go yet).

      That's why I'm horrified at the irresponsibility that has led to this situation. For me it's clear - it's a case of chasing profits at the sake of public health. There should be a criminal investigation into this ever widening scandal and those who caused it should be forced to pay the price for their stupidity.

      It has made me appreciate that there's a lot to be said for cooking from scratch. I use ready meals, probably more than I should, and while I haven't eaten the products that have been highlighted as containing horse meat (as far as I know, but who knows how far this will go?) any kind of ready meal is not the healthiest option - high levels of salt, sugar and food additives. I think it's time for a back to basics approach in the kitchen (at least for me).

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  4. I think it's disgusting and insane that we, then general public, have once again been lied to by big companies like Findus. I will never, ever buy their products again and personally I think they should be closed down. Looking at this issue from a medical point of view, it is very worrying to think we may have eaten horse meat that has been contaminated, but for me, another horse lover, I can't comprehend it. Yes, I'm a farmer and I raise sheep - lambs go to slaughter between 7-12 months old, depending on their weight, but they are raised to eat. I know some countries eat horses but I can't get my head around that. Shallow of me perhaps, but to think we love and nurture these creatures, take them on hacks, look after them like they're our children then find out their cousins are part of a lasagne, well, that just makes me physically sick.

    CJ x

    1. Hi CJ, I'm with you. I could never eat horse meat knowingly, just as I could never eat cat or dog. It's not just a case of meat is meat for me - having had close ties with my horse especially and numerous pet dogs and cats over the years I just couldn't do it, nor do I want to.

      The consumer is the most affected by this scandal and of course is the last to know. It is the consumer who will pay health-wise if there are any lasting adverse effects, not the presidents of large companies or the ruthless people who caused this dreadful situation in the first place. Yet again families have been put at risk by the politics of money.

      The charity World Horse Welfare campaigns to stop the long-distance transportation of horses for slaughter and improve the condition of meat horses. Without wanting to add to the scaremongering this article on their website tells you a little more about the situation and there is an opportunity to add you voice of protest to this awful trade here

      I don't work for or have any links with World Horse Welfare, I just admire their fight to improve conditions for these horses and appreciate their clarity in realising what would happen before it did.

      CJ, thank you for stopping by to comment.


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