Daft Old Duffer: Horse sense and horse feathers

Daft Old Duffer returns with his regular weekly column and he’s staying topical with the subject of horsemeat.

Daft Old Duffer returns. Guest opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publication. Ed

Now the initial sound and fury has died down, here’s a few facts that seem to have been overlooked in the furore surrounding horsemeat fillings.

Horses eat exactly the same greenery as do cows, sheep and goats. And as a direct result carry flesh exactly as wholesome and nourishing and healthy. Our ancestors knew this perfectly well and gratefully consumed it whenever possible. And when horses began to be used as work animals they were slaughtered and eaten as soon as their useful work lives were over. As were oxen, cows and everything else available to the farmer.

This routine of utilising a horse’s strength and then butchering it for food when such strength fails, continues to this day in many parts of the world.

There are exceptions
In fact the only part it doesn’t, as far as I can see, are those areas where some race of lordlings, such as the Normans, decreed that horses were too valuable to treat as a food source and should be bred for hunting and fighting purposes only.

They did this because they were cavalry fighters and as such a steady supply of knight-bearing and load carrying steeds were vital. And they could do it because any and all types of meat were freely available to them on command.

Thus the humble Anglo-Saxon peasant continued to chew contentedly on cow and ox, pig and goat, while at the same time steering clear of any hint they might be harming the taboo horse. Which could of course lead to death or mutilation.

Why not heat horsemeat?
So, with no such punishment hanging over our heads any longer, there is no need whatever for us modern day folk not to eat and enjoy horseflesh.

We are of course entitled to wax indignant over the deceit of labelling horse meat as beef. After all, we should know what is going down our throats, just as we do with everything else we swallow.

As we do of course. Don’t we?

On the day all the supermarkets began clearing their guilty shelves, I went to Tesco in the hope of snatching a few packets maybe going cheap before they all ended in the tip. Having been consuming the product for immeasurable years, you see, I couldn’t see how it would start harming me just because I knew about it.

Could’ve been happening for years
For the plain fact is, we have no idea how long this deception has been going on. I’m guessing at years, perhaps decades. And no-one, as far as I’m aware has suffered any sort of dread disease as a result.

What should happen as a result of this mini-scandal, is that horse meat products,clearly labelled as such will become part of our everyday shopping experience. If they do I for one will be snapping them up.

Better a product comprising 100% horse meat, I suggest, than one about which we know nothing but suspect a lot.

Image: Katie Blench under CC BY 2.0

Opinion Piece

Saturday, 23rd February, 2013 10:34am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2ax7

Filed under: Isle of Wight Opinion Pieces

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. I’m very happy to eat horsemeat, and whether I do or don’t and whether you do or don’t is just a personal issue.
    From my point of view, the big issues with this “scare” are whether the animals in question have been killed humanely, whether they have been injected or treated with any substance that is harmful to humans, and that we are not being told what we are eating.
    In this case, the reports are suggesting that there are traces of “bute” in the food, which can be harmful to humans, and allowing that cannot be right. It must also be wrong that we are not being told what we are eating, in order to be able to make the choice in a responsible way.
    My wife and I will just carry on buying unprocessed food, and cooking it from scratch ourselves. That gives us the biggest choice.

  2. Don Smith

    23.Feb.2013 6:44pm

    OK! Eat what you like – However, I like to know just what I am eating.

    It will be gnu next, which is plentiful and big cats love it. I’ve eaten gnu in Africa, but I was at least informed just what I was eating.

    Horse meat being imported from many countries that do not have the high standard of abattoir hygienic standards that we have in the UK, could lead to many kinds of nasties being eaten with sever consequences.

    State on the label: what, where and when.

Add comment