A Primer on Horse Slaughter (B)

A few notes before we continue.  Evelyne Villers, horsewoman and Editor-in-Chief of Les Hebdos du Suroît which produces a number of local papers widely read throughout the Vaudreuil-Soulanges riding where I live, wrote an excellent piece on Horse Euthanasia in January 2010.  For those of you who read French, go to Blogue Equin on the Premiere Edition website, and enjoy Evelyne’s comprehensive take on life with horses from natural horse training to events coverage and horse health and husbandry.  I admit it:  I’m a Villers groupie partly because her articles are extremely well-balanced regardless of her personal view of horses, which really is what a good reporter does:  presents the facts without interjecting one’s own opinions.  Very few reporters remain out there in media land of such professional calibre.

It’s because of something I read in that article, almost two years ago, that Q&A, Part B, begins with the fallout in the US after horse slaughter was banned on US soil (now be careful:  there’s a big difference between rumour and fact.  I’ll get to that shortly).  

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Horse meat: A Deadly Mouthful

Horse meat:  A Deadly Mouthful

On ne mange pas son ami! shouted the citizenry of Montréal at a raucous demonstration held around Christmas time in 1759 after the Catholic Church had enjoined parishioners to eat their horses during a time when beef was scarce.  “One doesn’t eat one’s friends” arose from a set of rural values which held that your horse was essential to your livelihood as a farmer—as necessary to your survival as agrarian-friendly weather.  Still, traditional recipes passed down from one generation to the next show that at least some Québécois ate their horses, for whatever reason, at some point in Québec history.  In the early 1950s, my own mother’s obstetrician ordered her to eat horsemeat to “enrich her blood”, the very lean meat considered a natural remedy for anaemia.  Today, proponents of horse slaughter for human consumption argue that horse meat is healthier for you than beef, and at the end of his life, a horse can serve yet another human purpose:  to feed the hungry.  

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