Thursday, 7 March 2013

A controversial choice?

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.
Whilst a lot of folks in the UK are indignantly protesting at the horsemeat which seems to be present in everything from "beef"burgers to lasagne, consumption of horsemeat in this country has apparently gone up, as more of the French are trying it to see what the fuss is all about.

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.....

Also it's apparently much better for me than beef, containing less fat and more of the cholesterol-lowering omega 3 fatty you've got to wonder, really, why don't people eat more of it?


Martine said...

Oh my, you have to post ALL of the comments you receive!!!

Did your daughters eat it, knowing what it was? I honestly don't think I could...

English Rider said...

The operative word is "Choice". If the ingredients are mis-labelled, we do not have a choice. I have to believe that there's all kinds of other crap in ground up no-name meat.
I met an old farmer in Northern Germany decades ago, who had ridden off to Russia on his horse and returned on foot. That would make things awfully personal at dinner time, but survival is part of that equation.
There are no horse slaughter houses in the USA. It's illegal, for the best of intentions. The unintended consequences of such a law are that horses travel for days, to Mexico or Canada, in the horrendous conditions and fear you mentioned.
It would be much better to have local professionals with stringent oversight of conditions.
After all that, I don't begrudge you a horse steak or ten. It's a mind over matter moment and no-one denies you are strong-minded:)

Helen Barnes said...

The SNO loved it, Martine, but Ali refused to eat it.......her choice so I respect that. The old man, having just spent 3 years working in Belgium, is a big fan of horse........have made it clear to him he's not allowed to eat mine though!

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