So yesterday I went shopping in our local supermarket, Leclerc. This being France, they sell a lot of things that you don't often see in Tescos. They have a tankful of live lobsters and crabs just waiting to be taken away and dunked into boiling water by eager chefs. You can buy whole bunnies ready skinned and gutted for the pot, minus their ears but bizarrely with the eyeballs still in. There is a whole range of snails in the freezer section and various poultry on the butcher's counter with heads and feet still attached and dangling attractively over the edge.
And then of course there's the horse. This was the display for Basque specialities on promotion a couple of weeks ago.
So yesterday, fancying a bit of steak for dinner, I decided to look at more than just the beef section. Faux filet de boeuf, I was surprised to discover, was €23 a kilo. Further along the chiller, just past the veal, was faux fillet de cheval - costing a far more reasonable €12.90 a kilo. Yes, I know, horses destined for slaughter have long journeys in horrendous conditions. This particular steak came all the way from Mexico, where I know their transportation/handling/slaughtering record is awful. I have seen video footage from a slaughterhouse in South America and it was far worse than the one doing the rounds on the internet of secret filming in a UK slaughterhouse recently.
But these days, price is an important factor in my choice of supermarket shopping, so I bought the horse instead of the beef. The horse is already dead, after all. If I didn't buy it, someone else would. There will always be a market for horsemeat in Europe, whether I eat it or not.
So I took it home for my dinner. And it was delicious.....