Horses: we grind up their hooves and bones for gelatin and glue and we use their hair for violin bows, but put horse meat in a burger and people are suddenly offended. Recently in the UK, Burger King admitted to there being traces of horse meat in their supplier’s beef. This statement was soon followed by an onslaught of public outrage, ranging from threats against the company to online boycotts of Whoppers. It’s reasonable for consumers to be angry about being lied to about the content of a product. However, the puzzling aspect of this incident is the level of disgust directed towards eating horse meat. It shouldn’t be a huge difference.
Let’s break things down a bit. On one hand, you have a cow: a relatively large herbivore that has four legs, hooves, makes loud sounds, poops and occasionally jumps over the moon. On the other hand, you have a horse. But aside from jumping over moons, horses really aren’t that physically different from their mooing, udder-bearing counterparts. Perhaps this anti-horse meat belief stems from the reasoning that horses have a higher level of intelligence than cows. After all, in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, horses play major roles of the proletariat class, whereas the cows are represented as idiots good for nothing but creating milk. In many cases, horses are seen as more than just a pooping herbivores. At some point in history, horses managed to cross the line of beast and gain liberties no cow could ever achieve. And it’s downright unfair.
Horse racing, carriage-pulling, dressage, show-jumping and pony rides — the list of horse-uses goes on and on. In comparison to cows, horses are deemed far more beneficial to human society. While millions of cows stand around, disregarded and unloved, horses trot around in their unjust, respected glory. Our literature, television and movies are brimming with emotional tales of horse bravery and human-horse companionship. Owning a pony is the epitome of every child’s dreams. Cows are just… cows. The only positive cow-related imagery comes from the world of food. Smiling, content images of cows cover the labels of cheese, milk and yogurt products. But that’s all propaganda. Cows have nothing to smile about.
It is time for equality between horses and cows. Stop glorifying horses and face the facts: there’s nothing wrong eating horse meat. We must disregard the societally embedded idea of the horse as an enlightened creature. Besides, compared to beef, horse meat is said to be more tender, contain less fat and more omega three acids. France eats horse meat. Gordon Ramsey eats horse meat. We can eat it, too.
Burger King deserves some acknowledgment. They have taken a brave step forward in the fight against animal slaughter inequality. So the next time you find yourself biting into a Whopper, be proud that you are supporting the eating of horse meat.
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.