I have tried just about every kind of meat. From the mundane to the exotic. This, of course, includes your kitchen staples — that is code for boring and overused — like beef, chicken and pork. The real fun lies in the rarer meats like venison or bison.
So it should come as no surprise that if I was offered a big hunk of horse meat I would definitely try it — I hear it is delicious. In fact, horse is considered a delicacy and as served commonly as beef in many European and Asian countries.
Sadly, the slaughter of horses for human consumption has been illegal in this country since 2007. At least it was until last November, when the ban was lifted by President Barack Obama. In the intervening months, not much happened on the horse front.
Then, a New Mexico rancher by the name of Rick De Los Santos applied to have his slaughterhouse inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If they approve his slaughterhouse, horse may well be back on the menu some day soon.
Not surprisingly, many have taken up arms in the fight to keep horses out of the kitchen. I can understand this position, even though I do not personally support it. Indeed, horses are intelligent animals that can be great companions. I have even had the pleasure of riding them on several occasions.
Still, that does not mean they are not tasty.
It is not as though there is no precedent for eating horses. As I said, it was legal back in 2007. Horses have also been used many times in history when beef was scarce, like during World War II.
If the USDA can regulate the industry to ensure the horses are killed humanely there should be no reason not to slaughter horses the same way we slaughter cows and pigs. Of course, the USDA has done such a poor job regulating those industries that it would take a miracle to have humane conditions for horses, let alone cows and pigs.
USDA failings aside, horses are still an untapped market in a world that is quickly becoming over-populated. The least we could do is make use of the horses who die of natural causes. One horse carcass could likely feed an average family for months — assuming they have the freezer space.
Also, while American horses are not being slaughtered domestically in any appreciable numbers, there are many that have found themselves on European or Asian tables through exporting. Yet another industry that has gone overseas due to America’s squeamish stomach.
I think it is safe to say the majority of people in America can accept the fact that other countries regularly eat dogs, cats and even horses. Those same people should come to accept that there may just be people like that in their own back yard.
Horse slaughter may be legal, but it is still clearly stigmatized. My advice to those who oppose it: do not knock it until you have tried it.