I was going to write a witty article about this whole debate (I had metaphors lined up and everything), but that’s just it, it has been a debate, a very long, detailed, public and international debate. Anything that’s been worth saying has already been said, including all the very dodgy jokes; ‘Would you like anything on your burger? Yes, a fiver each way’.
So why write this post at all? Because the whole scandal has a silver lining. The outcome of this whole debacle is one that’s very exciting for ethical eating aficionados. It’s brought to light important aspects of eating meat and put ethical eating at the forefront of peoples minds. This is something worth blogging about.
The problem with the horse meat isn’t necessarily because of the animal, sure, a lot of people don’t like the idea of eating horse but many countries do it. I believe it’s more to do with the fact that we don’t really know the true source of this meat; How was it reared? How was it killed? How old is it? and How did it end up in products labelled as being beef/pork/lamb?
The shock of the scandal and the feeling of being lied to has led to people asking these questions, people who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have thought about the ethics surrounding eating meat. People want to trust the meat they’re buying, trust the producers and trust the sellers. They want meat products that are what they say they are, no horse, no donkey, no lies. So they’re going out and getting it.
Reports have shown an increase in sales (since the scandal hit) at local butchers and farmers markets. Consumers (in some cases first timers to these types of sellers) are not only buying from but are also talking to their local producers about local produce and in doing so are helping to keep their local economies strong whilst chalking one up for ethical eating. This is an exciting movement.
I hope it stays this way. This is a great opportunity for towns and cities to introduce/develop their farmers markets and give a welcome boost to their economies whilst supplying consumers with (higher welfare) meat reared, slaughtered and packed within only a few miles of the consumers home; the way it should be.