Oh, POOH POOH, y'all. Pooh pooh. So we all ate a little bit of horse meat. So what. I mean, of course I'm all for proper, transparent food-labelage, and I'm certainly not PRO-non-consensual-mass-horse-meat-consumption. (This is not an article about whatever fucked-up mechanisms of food production got the horse meat into the beef meat in the first place—because that shit needs to get handled.) If I'm going to eat horse meat, I want to know I'm eating horse meat, and in the future I would like to exclusively eat horse meat on my terms. But what I'm saying is that I would. Eat it, I mean. On my terms. Because WTF who cares.
Now, it's not like I'm dying for a BIG BLOODY HORSE T-BONE WITH HOOF SAUCE or anything. I'm not going to seek it out, and if someone plopped one on the table at a dinner party I might have to take some centering breaths in the foyer real quick. But that's just cultural conditioning. I've eaten an IKEA horseball. I've eaten garbage ravioli. So that means I've definitely eaten secret horse meat—we've officially crossed that hurdle and everything's fine. Despite the knowledge that I've munched a horse, you don't see me cry-barfing all over the place right now, because what the fuck is the difference between a horse and a cow?
That is a rhetorical question and if anyone sends me any Wikipedia links I'm shutting the internet down.
Do I like horses? Definitely. I have Artax feelings! The first half of the Black Stallion is my absolute jam (thanks no thanks, Mickey Rooney)! I cried at that Budweiser commercial where the guy and the baby horse are best fwiends! Do I want to murder that baby with my bare hands and eat it? NO. But what if that Budweiser commercial had starred this li'l buddy instead? What if it was about a wee highland coo!? I will posit that I still would have cried. So cuteness is not the issue.
A cute baby animal is a cute baby animal, and in the grand scheme of things—our vast, lonely universe that I happen to believe is meaningless anyway—this sacred difference between a horse and a cow is just a combo of semantics and cultural elitism. "Oh, we would never eat a horse! We're too good to eat horses! I mean, sure, we'll ENSLAVE ALL OF THEM AND RIDE ON THEIR BACKS AND SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD IF THEY DON'T RUN FAST ENOUGH, but we wouldn't eat one. Who do we look like—the French?" I don't think it's honest and I don't think it's fair to all the non-horse animal dudes out there getting eaten by smug Americans willy-nilly.
Imagine you're talking to an alien. Imagine you're trying to explain this whole horse meat controversy to a little green alien you found in your yard (he's lost, and he noticed you're upset about something). And the alien's like, okay, bro, so what's this horse thing everyone's freaking out about? And you show him a picture of a horse, and you say, see, see, it's got fur and four legs and hooves and it eats grass and it lives outside on a farm and it's made of meat and eyelashes, and that is why we must never, ever eat it. And the alien says, okay, so, what meat do you guys eat? And you say, well, we eat cows. Delicious cows. They're these furry things with four legs and hooves and they eat grass and live outside on a farm and they're made of meat, eyelashes, the whole thing, and FUCK THEIR EMOTIONS OM GROM GROMPH. And you show him a picture of a cow, like that explains everything.
NOW IMAGINE THAT ALIEN LAUGHING IN YOUR FACE BECAUSE THAT MAKES LITERALLY NO SENSE.
Do you think an alien—even with Cliff's Notes—could tell the difference between a horse and a cow at all? Do you think the first dumb Dutch guy who showed up in Africa saw a giraffe and was like, "Oh, a giraffe." NO, he was like, "Oh, they sure do have weird long-necked horses here." Because THAT GUY DIDN'T KNOW SHIT. That guy couldn't even tell the difference. And a giraffe is way less like a horse than a cow is like a horse.
What I'm saying is that eating one meat-beast is ethically indistinguishable from eating a different meat-beast, so unless you want to tackle the issue of meat-eating in general, just go ahead and chill. So you ate a little bit of horse meat by accident. A lot of people certain places eat horse meat every day on purpose. Or wish they had some horse meat ravioli. When someone finds human meat inside Cadbury Mini-Eggs, I will lead the vomit parade. Until then, we'll live.
Image by Jim Cooke, source photos via Shutterstock.