Equestrian of Blame

Findus Horsemeat LaagneThe most surprising thing about the so-called ‘horse meat scandal’ is that the media hasn’t come up with a snappier title for it, something like Naggate or Dobbingate or something original like that.

I was listening to Radio Five the other day when they’d got together various political and industry experts for what they called the Horse Meat Summit because they they couldn’t think of anything snappier, until a listener pointed out that it should be called Equestion Time.

But the least surprising thing is that the only people who appear to be exorcised by this shocking business are the media, politicians and professional pundits. The rest of the population are quite sanguine about the whole affair as far as I can tell.

What has been interesting though is that the reaction of the chattering classes has given away their personal agendas.

Opposition politicians blame the government; anti-bureaucracy nuts slag off the Food Standards Agency; little islanders have a go at Europe; immigration worriers blame Johnny Romanian; while the anti-globalisation movement pour scorn on Tesco et al.

The bankers must be delighted that no-one is blaming them, although I’m sure it will get round to being their fault eventually.

But the rest of us can’t quite get heated about it. Okay, so I’d rather that my beef lasagne contained beef as it claims and not a cheaper equine alternative, but I doubt if I’d be able to taste the difference.

And what’s wrong with eating horse anyway? Our friends across the channel do it all the time and personally I’ve been served things like frogs legs, snails, rabbit, pigeon and kudu without being in the least bit nauseous.

It seems to me that this is yet another subject which some people can go out of their way to be offended by.

But just to show that no news is ever new, here is some footage of the 1948 horsemeat scandal:

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

12 comments… Add yours
  • rhymeswithplague 16th February 2013

    I thought I remembered a previous scandal about horsemeat during my childhood days (I was 7 in 1948 and I read newspapers even then). Thank you for verifying my fading memory.

  • rhymeswithplague 16th February 2013

    “Equestrian of blame’ — that’s a good one!

    • Mr Parrot 16th February 2013

      Thank you Mr Plague. I wondered if I might be trying to be too clever there!

  • Trevor Rowley 16th February 2013

    Seems that there is more than one issue rattling around here

    1. Is it deceitful to fool the public by not saying on the label what is actually in the tin? If the label was truthful then there would be no question to answer as the public who were happy to eat horsemeat could go straight to that product and buy it and those who were not happy to eat horsemeat would move down the aisle until they reached their preference.
    2. Is horsemeat harmful to humans?
    3. Is there a risk when eating horsemeat from the painkiller, bute?
    4. Are some people making good profits here by selling horsemeat at beef prices, even within the meat trade, and before it gets to the supermarket shelves?

    • Mr Parrot 16th February 2013

      You are right Trevor although I think that your four questions are really two. The answer to number one is yes, of course, and surely explains point four. It would be interesting to know if anyone would have noticed or cared if Findus had put ‘horse DNA’ on its small print list of ingredients.

      As for point two, the answer has to be no, at least not unless you take point three into account. Did the horsemeat contain bute? I doubt if we’ll ever know the answer. Is it harmful to people? Almost certainly not at the levels that were ingested.

      • Trevor Rowley 18th February 2013

        With reference to the issue of bute, Mr P, on the radio I heard a spokesman for some body involved with the disposal of deceased animals who made it quite clear that any animal which has received the painkiller, bute, must not enter the foodchain. He added that, providing the rules are followed, any such animal would be destroyed. We assume that they must have thought there was a good enough reason to create the rules in the first place. I wouldn’t know bute if I fell over it but, if someone who knows about it tells me I shouldn’t eat it, I’m inclined to go along with their advice.

  • Roger Green 17th February 2013

    I feel the US needs to tells when they put in certain additives in our foods!

  • John 17th February 2013

    …..and although its well past it’s comic sell by date I am surprised that Shergar has not got a mention

    • Mr Parrot 17th February 2013

      I was sorely tempted John. Mind you, I ordered a burger at McD’s the other day and when they asked what I wanted on it, I said £5 each way!

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 20th February 2013

    Well, my OH thought much the same way as you, saying ‘lots of other cultures eat horse, what’s so wrong with it?’ and agreeing with the propaganda that it ‘doesn’t pose a health risk’. He thought that way until I pointed out to him that there is one very big thing wrong with it: many, many people these days are allergic to certain foods. How about people who are allergic to horse-meat and eat these ‘beef’ products in good faith?

    And how do we KNOW there is no public health risk until they know where it came from? Questions, questions … I feel a blog post coming on!

    • Mr Parrot 21st February 2013

      An interesting point Jay. I suppose the question is, are there people who are allergic to horsemeat who aren’t allergic to beef?

      And it has flagged u[ something I’d forgotten about – our euphemisms for the meat we eat. Cow is beef, pig is pork, sheep is lamb and hens are chicken, but horse is just horsemeat!


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