This might sound like an odd blog to write considering all my other topics. I definitely would never knowingly eat horse meat but I have always wondered why it is not something eaten in many other countries around the world or by non-horsey people.
It is not a new thing, people have not eaten horses for many hundreds of years. Over a thousand years ago the Pope issued an order totally prohibiting the eating of horse meat.
One of the first blogs I wrote 2 years ago was about the history of the horse. Horses were eaten by our early ancestors of the Ice Age, when their method of hunting was to make herds of wild horses panic and fall over the edge of a cliff. During the Stone Age herds were rounded up instead and used for meat, milk, their tough hides and their bones for implements. However, they also used horses to carry and transport themselves and belongings. Horses allowed our ancestors to travel much greater distances and gradually became the most important animal to man.
Legends began to form around horses until they were thought of as sacred. The horse was fit for the gods, it carried them through the skies thus explaining thunder and lightning - hooves and whips! Horses then became sacrificial animals for early Pagan rituals. The believers gained strength from eating horse meat and drinking blood.
The beginning of Christianity meant stamping out the old Pagan religion and rituals - thus eating horse meat became wicked and dirty. This was when the Pope forbade the eating of horse meat. Although Pagan horse eating continued in some areas it did stop eventually throughout most of the Christian world. Many other religions also prohibit the eating of horse meat.
During the 1800's when many of the poorer classes were malnourished and starving it was suggested that horses, once they came to the end of their working lives, would be a good addition to the diet. Beef prices were high due to widespread epidemics killing cattle in their thousands but there were many horses. In France and Belgium many people did accept the idea - and they still eat horse meat today. However, most countries did not because the horse was now thought of differently, partly thanks to Charles Darwin.
Darwin had shown that humans were related to other species and many people began to feel a greater bond to animals. Welfare organisations were beginning to appear with opposition to animal cruelty and vegetarianism was becoming more popular.
The horsemeat scandal in 2013 when traces of horse meat were found in supposed beef and pork products demonstrated how strong public feeling still is.
So, in our modern world few people will eat horse meat. Although, many of us for the simple reason that the horse gives us so much, why would we want to eat them!
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Until next time!