Thomas Anelay offers his typically potent take on the horse meat scandal…
I owe you an apology. Earlier this week I said that we could stop talking about Europe for a bit. It turns out I was wrong. A bit like the pasty tax, the present horse-meat scandal seems to be one that has gripped the populous and which is causing far more political problems than it should. The UK is now managing to have an argument with the French, Romanians, Swiss and goodness knows who else all because we are outraged that we’ve been eating horses and can’t trace where they came from.
I completely understand that mislabelling of foodstuffs is bad, but what did you all expect was in a meal that costs £1 and is prefaced by the words “value,” “super-saver,” “basics” or “own brand”? It is a huge problem facing obesity that healthy foods cost more, and subsidies for such foods are something that money should be invested in by government. But getting angry because the beef is actually horse is ridiculous. It’s meat. It’s food. It’s a leaner protein source. And most importantly the French eat it loads and they are a lot leaner, sexier and better at cooking than us.
Food contains all sorts that we would rather not think about. Eat out in a restaurant and you can guarantee that the chef has been to the toilet and not washed his hands, half the waiters probably have filth clinging under their fingernails and if you’ve complained, acted snobby or just generally done anything the staff don’t like you will probably suffer in ways I cannot print on this website. School meals are absolutely the same and yet remarkably we’re all alive. In fact, school meals have probably been made of horse for decades and we’re all fine. So why do we care?
Let’s try to have some perspective. Think of the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people starving every day in this world. The UN have calculated that every 3 ½ seconds someone dies of hunger. Those people would not be complaining about a bit of horse meat. If you care that much about meat content then go to your local butcher. Half the time it’s cheaper than a supermarket and you will be supporting local businesses and UK farmers.
But spare a moment today to think of those without food. We are a greedy nation. It is a sign of how gluttonous, stupid and conceited we can be that we are allowing quibbles over meat content to waste so much time and money. It’s time to get over ourselves. Horse is delicious and we are lucky to be able to eat it.