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Thu Jul 31 17:33:09 SAST 2014

How about horse in your wors?

Mike Moon | 15 February, 2013 02:25

Horse racing fans wouldn't dream of eating the creatures that provide them with their fun. Would they?

Actually, some might well savour a succulent rump steak from the banker bet that blew them out of the Pick 6. It would give a new twist to the old saying "horses for courses".

But seriously, there are many people - decent, polite, law-abiding folk - for whom eating horse meat doesn't carry any cultural taboo.

Personally, I'm game for unusual nosh. I vividly recall tucking into curried goat's head, staring eyeball and all, on being told it was a sure-fire hangover cure (listen, when that desperate, you'll do anything). And I've been to China and wolfed down canine crudités and sea-slug soufflé.

There's a raging controversy in Britain about bits of horse meat being smuggled into burger patties and lasagnes.

The public were duped into thinking they were eating pure beef when in fact they were devouring Dobbin.

No one likes being conned and the crime lies in the deceit of wholesalers who mislabelled the food. But the fact that eating horse meat is such a no-no in Britain has cranked up the outrage no end.

In France, a country a few kilometres away with a similar level of sophistication and culture to Britain, they're chuckling at the discomfort of the rosbifs - because in French restaurants cheval is cordon bleu fare. Indeed, horse is commonly eaten in many countries, including Japan, Romania and Mexico, with about 4.7million horses scoffed globally each year - 1.7million of them in China.

Different cultures ban different things, such as pork or shellfish, originally for reasons of hygiene or religion and later to control and define group identity.

But, for Anglo-Saxons and other tribes, horse meat scruples have more to do with horses having been an integral part of life for centuries - as farm co-workers, war comrades, sporting companions and pets. They're good chums, really.

In the Rainbow Nation, with a mish-mash of cultures, we have an "eat and let eat" attitude to what's consumed around us and the idea of horse in the boerewors isn't greeted with the revulsion it is among Poms.

So could horse burgers catch on here? Could there be an alternative secondary market for retired racehorses?

We sometimes joke about our underperforming thoroughbreds having an appointment at the glue factory or the Belgian butchery - but it is just that, a joke.

Medication racehorses get for minor ailments - and just possibly highly illegal stuff for speed - would prevent a quick racecourse-abattoir-supermarket supply chain turnaround.

A period of paddock rest, to work out the so-called "bute", might work.

But it's not for me, I'm afraid. Not even curried.

Call me an Anglo-Saxon throwback if you must, but I couldn't bring myself to scoff my horses - as useless at racing as they might be. If you've a name for something, have stroked it and said "good boy", it's hard to swallow.

TURFFONTEIN, TOMORROW: PA - 2 x 7,8 x 3,9 x 2,3,10 x 5,9,11 x 6 x 2,5 (R72)

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