What Do the British Have Against Horse Meat?

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The British are revolted by horse meat. Why?


After traces of horse DNA were found in some British hamburgers, there's been something of an island-wide soul search going on regarding the question of why the Brits are so revolted by the idea of chowing down on horse. The BBC explores the root of the question:

There is no real logic as to why plenty of Britons are perfectly willing to eat cows, pigs, and chickens, but see horses as taboo, according to Dr Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist who runs the Animal Behaviour Centre.

"I'm a farmer and there is an irony. Why are horses different from pigs and lambs?" he says.

Part of the reason is people frequently see horses as pets, and humans tend to put "extra qualities and values" on animals they call pets, he says.

But, of course, there's more to it:

But all of the above reasons apply as much to France as they do to the UK. There must be more to it.

"It enables us to have yet another point of difference with the French," says Gray.

"Beef has long been symbolic of Englishness and therefore anything we can do or say to put British beef on a pedestal is usually done - ergo the thought that the French eat horse while we eat good beef becomes a chauvinistic way of asserting national identity," she says.

According to Susanna Forrest, horse meat is consumed by a billion people around the world in countries like China, Russia, Mexico, Belgium and Japan. Horse meat is a growth business with consumption climbing 27.6 percent since 1990, Forrest added. While it's not a big treat in the U.S., American horses are frequently shipped to Canada for processing into meat that is then shipped to Europe (although all the drugs we're pumping into the horses is apparently putting the Europeans off U.S. horse meat).

(AP Photo)

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