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Why don’t Americans eat horse meat (on purpose)?

Fun horse


By now y’all must’ve heard about the horse meat scandal in Europe – where horse meat was found hidden and ground in with other meats and sold in supermarkets and served up in Ikea’s meatballs.

People in other countries eat horse meat – and on purpose. So why don’t Americans?

Brian Palmer of Slate answers: because we typically do not eat our beasts of burden. And, we have formed emotional attachments to them.

As with many food taboos, there’s no settled explanation for why most Americans are perfectly willing to eat cows, pigs, and chickens but turn their noses up at horse. Horse-eating, or hippophagy, became popular in Europe in the 19th century, when famines caused several governments to license horse butcheries. Today, horse meat is most widely available in France, Belgium, and Sweden, where it outsells mutton and lamb combined.

Meanwhile in Canada claims CBC, horse meat sales are up as people try eating it for themselves to see what the hoopla is about.

I ate it once in Switzerland and had no idea until leaving the restaurant when I saw a sign, all our fondues use horse meat. I wasn’t thrilled (in fact, I was quite upset) but I didn’t die, either.

For more, see: Slate.

Also: CBC.

More stories about food.

Photo credit: julien tromeur – Fotolia.com

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  • Steve

    what an uninformative article. Americans don’t eat horsemeat and we dont know why…genius!

  • […] prompted calls to shorten food supply chains, as well as raised the question, why don’t more people knowingly eat horse […]

  • GeeGoo

    What a weird article.

    The Bible says that edible, 4-legged animals have split hoofs and chew their cud. Horses don’t fit that category. Try cow, deer, bison, elk…

    I suppose there might be some truth to the use of horses and perhaps some emotional attachment, because we shouldn’t be eating pig meat, shell fish/bottom feeders and many woodsy animals either (which I don’t and I’m a Christian, not a Jew).