Department of Zero Surprises and Some Hope

Illustration from Nutztierhaltung & Tiermedizin & Pferd by Georg Simon Winter, 1678 via Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration from Nutztierhaltung & Tiermedizin & Pferd by Georg Simon Winter, 1678 via Wikimedia Commons.

Tons of low-grade Canadian horse meat were purchased and passed off as halal beef by the Dutch businessman who is now in custody as French authorities investigate the scandal in which horse meat from Romania wound up labelled as ground beef.

(The Globe and Mail – and for my background piece on the scandal, Spiegel Online.)

Yesterday the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) announced bold steps designed to improve endurance horse welfare, proposing unprecedented athlete penalties for equine injuries, extended rest periods, and increased accountability.

(TheHorse.com)

 

 

Whole Heap of Little Horse Links

DoenerHorseBerlin

Yes, we’re still deep in the horse meat scandal.

  • You can now buy a “horse burger” fancy dress costume (Business Insider)
  • Only 13% of Americans would consider eating horse meat (almost twice the percentage who would eat dog), whereas 34% would consider alligator lasagna (KTAR)
  • Groups in Oklahoma want to build a horse abattoir. (SFGate.com and Fox23.com) As does a business in Roswell, New Mexico (Koat.com) And a Philly restaurant wants to add horse meat to the menu (Consumerist)
  • Grub Street suggests 20 places to eat horse, including locavore horse lasagna in Scotland. (Grub Street)
  • A visit to a Kazakh horse meat market (NPR) and a visit to a Polish horse sale (Baltimore Sun)
  • In the merry-go-round that is the international, industrialised food chain, an Irish slaughterhouse sent “beef” to the Czech Republic which was in fact horse. (USA Today)
  • A German politician and clergyman are drubbed for saying that the rejected horse-beef food should be given to the poor. (The Local)
  • Russia threatens to suspend horse meat imports from the EU – something of a joke given that they continue to import possibly bute-laced horse meat from the USA. (Fox News)
  • Could the incorrect labelling have begun in Romania after all? Mislabelled horse meat found in the country (Bloomberg)
  • China reacts to the horse meat scandal (Bloomberg)
  • Meanwhile, I have more local news stories about neglected horses in the US than I can load up here.
  • Non-meat-related uses for horses: a California teen escapes gang culture through his horse. The pastor who helped Dawan Whitmore get riding lessons comments: “He learned how to feed the horse every day twice a day, rain or shine. Forget football practice, forget all those other things. It teaches him a great deal of responsibility. Not to mention self worth.” (23ABC News)

The Black Market In Black Beauties: A Piece For Spiegel Online About The Horse Meat Crisis

Source: Wiki Commons, Naturgeschichte für Bürgerschulen. Dr. Karl Rothe, Ferdinand Frank, Josef Steigl. I. Wien 1895, Verlag von A. Pichler's Witwe & Sohn.

Source: Wiki Commons, Naturgeschichte für Bürgerschulen. Dr. Karl Rothe, Ferdinand Frank, Josef Steigl. I. Wien 1895, Verlag von A. Pichler’s Witwe & Sohn.

How bureacracy has failed both horses and consumers, and how a long-held quest to provide cheap red meat for the working man ended in fraud. I need to add the credit for the Saint-Hilaire translation, which will appear here when I have time! Meanwhile, here’s something on the history of hippophagy, something on bute, and something on the use of horses to collect recycling waste.

UPDATE: As a Romanian reader pointed out, my sources claiming that many horses were slaughtered in the wake of an EU-inspired Romanian ban on horsedrawn carts were overreaching. The time lag is too great between events.  Mea culpa. The New York Times has done the actual legwork I didn’t do:

Fed by mostly fictitious accounts of a mass slaughter of Romanian horses after the introduction of new traffic rules banning horse-drawn carts, the news media in France and Britain reported that hundreds of thousands of Romanian horses had suddenly entered the food chain.

“It is total nonsense,” said Lucian Dinita, the chief of Romania’s road police. The nation, he said, did introduce a law in 2006 restricting horse-drawn carts on roads, but it was scrapped two years later and led to no mass culling of unemployed horses.

My information came from a 2008 Telegraph article and accompanying video, available here. It quotes local animal charities, vets and the then head of the Romanian police traffic safety department:

Chief Commissioner Carol Varna, head of the Romanian police traffic safety department, said that more than 1,000 carts had been seized since officers started to enforce the law.

“There are some owners who just let their horses go when they cannot afford them any more,” he said.