So there’s horse meat in ordinary “Fresh Beef” now, not “just” hidden away in processed foods. The scandal continues and we are again told that health risks from eating it are “Very low.” Spokesmen are acknowledging that the horse medicine Bute (side effects in humans from consuming this can include “aplastic anaemia” – with loss of red and white blood cells). But not to panic, we are told, it must be in minute quantities. If this is the case, did it really warrant the whole business of compulsory horse passports, introduced in order to prevent horse medicines entering the food chain?
The real scandal, though, is the number of horses being sent to abattoirs because of the cost of keeping them is too high in times of financial recession. A mare with foal will fetch £250, I’m told, for meat. It’s one thing for pets (or even humans) to consume a horse which has had to be put down for humane reasons, such as an accident or old age. But are we really a nation that wants see foals go that way? We need to ask some questions which go beyond the jokes.