13 July 2010

beef, lamb, kangaroo, venison... horse

Australians consume an average of 46.5kg of red meat each year, made up of 33.7kg beef, 10.8kg lamb and 2kg mutton (2008-09 Meat and Livestock Australia). Add to that the growing domestic consumption of kangaroo meat (though no figures are available) and smaller amounts of venison.

Soon, adding to the range of red meat will be horse. According to Daile Pepper, writing in WAToday (Sydney Morning Herald and The Age)
[Vince Garreffa of Mondo Di Carne gourmet butchers] would be the first Australian butcher to offer the product for humans, and claimed that people from ethnic groups who enjoyed the meat often resorted to buying it from pet stores.

Mr Garreffa said it was a little known fact that between 50,000 and 70,000 horses were slaughtered in Australia every year for human consumption in other parts of the world. It was time to end the hypocrisy, he said.

"It has never been sold before for domestic consumption in Australia," he said.

"We feel it's not going to be big business, it's not a money making venture, it's all about supplying the ethnic community with something they grew up with."

Not known to most people is that Australia has had a horse meat industry for some time, with most horse meat produced exported to Japan and Europe (DAFF).

Like other English-speaking countries, horse meat is generally considered to be a taboo food. Similarly, there were debates about kangaroo meat when it was first approved for human consumption. However, unlike kangaroo, there will be arguments about horses being service animals in Australia, like other companion animals such as dogs and cats, which are even more taboo as food.

Would I eat horse meat? I did. In Zurich, having 'forgotten' the German word for horse (Pferde) at the time. It was in the form of a medium rare cooked steak and very tasty.

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