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Monday, March 4, 2013

What is the effing problem? 

 "Taco Bell joins a long list of food providers — Nestle, Burger King, Tesco, Birds Eye, Findus and even Ikea — that have had to remove products amid horse meat revelations."

I don't eat meat anymore. Okay, that isn't entirely true. I do on some very rare occasions. I am not fanatical about it. Kind of like a very casual smoker, I make exceptions. But mostly, I gave up meat 3 years ago because I couldn't justify in my mind why animals had to die for me to eat protein when there are very acceptable substitutes out there. I eat veggie burgers instead of hamburgers and steak. Don't miss it one bit. And if anything my health is better not worse. The argument that not eating red or white meat will on some level deprive me of essential things we can only get from animal fat simply doesn't seem to hold with me. That wasn't the reason I did it, but certainly I thought about that. It was mainly the reason I hadn't done it any sooner. I always thought we needed those things and only meat could give them to us. If I had noticed some changes to my health, obviously I would have reassessed. I didn't.
To me though, meat is meat. Therefore, today I ask the question, "What is the big deal about horsemeat being found in food sold by Ikea, Burger King and now Taco Bell?"

It certainly can't be a shock that things we think are pure meat, mostly beef, are not. Anyone that thinks that a Big Mac is 100% pure beef should have their heads examined once they stop that purchase of the Brooklyn Bridge. So, I don't think that is what the big uproar is about here. I think it is something much simpler. 
Most Americans (and Canadians) don't like the thought that they are eating Mr. Ed or that nice pony they thought about buying for their daughter. They don't have an issue with eating a cow, or turkey, or chicken, or bacon (pig), because those animals are "bred and raised" to be slaughtered for our consumption. But dogs, cats and horses are pets. They have "personality". We can't eat them!

Except that anyone who has ever looked after a pig, or chicken or any animal of any kind knows that they all have personalities. Once you get that personal connection, you know that treating them as just meat vessels is not easy. 
In the real world we all understand that man and beast has lived off of animal meat for as long as time. Dogs eat and kill other animals as do cats and many others. It is animal nature to hunt and kill other animals.
But humans aren't other animals. We have taken the next step. We don't hunt and kill, we breed, raise and slaughter animals. And most of us don't even have a link in that chain. We buy the end product, which is processed and has the animal component removed. It is simply a hunk of meat. Steak. Ribs. Wings. Bacon. There is no connection. But we still do have an idea of what we don't want to eat.
In addition, humans have also figured out how to make products that are very acceptable alternatives to meat, namely vegetable products that when formulated taste very similar to meat and have many of the same nutritional components. Wild animals can't do that. They have no alternative.
Most of us have been to the horse races or amusement parks that have pony rides. We know that horses have names, have grace and beauty. We understand that they are cared for and treated as something other than meat. In fact, they are not bred to be meat. They are bred to be used as tools for others to make money or enjoy as pleasure animals.   
But to those of us who had first hand experience with horses and other animals, they are all the same. I don't eat meat because I don't want to eat any animal. I don't want any animal to be raised to die so that I can eat, when I know in my mind that isn't necessary. I feel just as much for the cow that gets housed and then slaughtered inhumanely as I do for the horse that does. Meat is meat. Animals are animals. 

 "As for the tainted European products, all were discovered by inspectors. In other words, no diner noticed the difference. The only logical conclusion: Horsemeat doesn’t taste all that nasty when doctored with allspice, cardamom, parsley and a dollop of heavy cream. Kind of makes us wonder why it’s banned."

 In Europe, horsemeat is considered a delicacy, and in many ways a superior product to cattle or beef. So that can't be it. It isn't about quality or taste. As they say in the above link, you likely would not even know if some horsemeat is mixed in. Put enough spices in anything and it all tastes the same.
In my mind, it simply boils down to a mental component. We can't justify eating animals we view as pleasure animals, like horses, dogs and cats. But essentially, they are just as much meat as a cow, chicken or pig. But at the county fair, we don't ride pigs or cows and when we grew up, we didn't groom them. We groomed horses and we had lifelong buddies like Old Yeller. 
For me, an animal is an animal. They all have feelings and a personality. If you are okay with eating a chicken, pig, duck, cow or turkey, you should have no issue with eating a horse.  
 I don't judge others who eat meat. That is their choice. I make my choice. We all have to live with the choices we make. But if you think that eating a horse is not right, then you should think twice about eating any meat. 
 I am sure there is a small percentage who would say that they want beef and if there is horsemeat mixed in then they have an issue with that because that is not what they wanted. For those people, I make the exception in this blog. But for most, I think they are just fooling themselves. Meat is a product of an animal that was almost certainly raised to be slaughtered, no matter what animal that is. And that animal had feelings. To think otherwise is just to fool yourself. 
As humans, we can think on a higher level. So think about that. 


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