They’ll Sell Everything But the Whinny

Inserting spices?

Inserting spices?

There’s horse meat, which some Europeans apparently like. But the EU being the EU, there are regulations about these things, which creates, to the shock of Eurocrats but the understanding nods of economists everywhere, a black market in horseflesh — the sort that comes shrink-wrapped in a market, rather than on the hoof in a racing stable.

The US has run hot and cold on whether we’ll allow our unwanted old Dobbins to be slaughtered for the tables of Euro sophisticates, rather than the more usual rendering into wood glue and gelatin. So there’s unmet demand, and when unmet demand meets regulation-constrained supply, smuggling and counterfeiting inevitably surface.

European authorities say police in several countries have detained 26 people in a crackdown on an organized crime network accused of trading in illegal horse meat.

Eurojust, the EU agency for judicial cooperation, said in a statement late Friday that the network falsified documents and sold meat from horses unfit for human consumption. The meat then made its way into the “legal food chain,” unbeknownst to consumers.

One may wonder what distinguishes horses “unfit for human consumption” from their equine brethren who have that imprimatur. The article is unclear.

The operation involved authorities in France, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The statement said the main suspect is a Belgian, but did not provide the nationalities of those arrested.

So it took seven nations’ cops to arrest a couple dozen horsemeat scofflaws — an average of three point something each.

European health authorities have been on alert for horse meat crime since 2013, when they discovered that it was being secretly sold as beef in some prepared foods around Europe.

via News from The Associated Press.

How could they sell it as beef? Isn’t everything we don’t usually eat supposed to taste like chicken? (J/k. Horsemeat does taste like beef, and makes decent burgers. For a time in the late 80s it was sold in the US commissaries in Europe because the junior enlisteds couldn’t afford beef, at least not with all the AAFES/Exchange/Commissary kickbacks and graft factored in).

13 thoughts on “They’ll Sell Everything But the Whinny

  1. TRX

    If your idea of great beef depends on high quantities of fat, you probably won’t like horse, which is quite lean by comparison. If you’d just as soon not pay for wads of blubber you have no intention of eating, horse is great stuff.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’m lucky to have a small bison farm in my hometown. Bison is like the leanest and best-tasting beef there ever was….

  2. Eric

    Couple thoughts:
    Last I looked, EU does not permit US-raised horse meat to be legally imported because it might be hazardous for human consumption due to residual drugs. Since the US does not raise horses to be used as food, veterinarians are free to use a wider range of drugs to treat them, as opposed to cattle, chickens, and pigs. A very common drug used to treat horses is “Bute” or phenylbutazone. a NSAID. It’s use is roughly analogous to the way humans use aspirin. Vets commonly dispense it to horseowners to use as needed. It was originally developed for humans, but can have some lethal side effects when combined with other common drugs, so not used in people any more. When the EU outlawed its use in horses (IIRC) some years ago, there was a lot of pushback from horse owners because who argued the welfare of the horse was being subordinated to the horse steak aficionados. Which was true.

    Back when I was stationed in Germany, late 80s to early 90s, US beef was also not allowed to be sold in Europe, allegedly due to antibiotics or hormones or something. Allegedly this was not to prop up the local market in beef, which was quite pricey. However Uncle Sam saw to it that us troops did not suffer by importing US beef to the Commissaries. One morning we went into the Commissary at the US Army post at Schinnen, The Netherlands to find the entire meat department closed. Turns out all the butchers, which were local Dutch civilians, had just been arrested by the Dutch police and the Army CID for stealing US beef and selling it on the economy. Shazam.

    I’m sure there’s an economic point to be derived from all this, but whatever it is, seems the Europeople do enjoy US meat products regardless of what their overseers tell them they should enjoy.

    1. Y.

      >>>Back when I was stationed in Germany, late 80s to early 90s, US beef was also not allowed to be sold in Europe, allegedly due to antibiotics or hormones or something.<<

      Any US meat. Last time I checked, antibiotics were fed to all meat animals.

      An atrocity, methinks.

      We are fucked though, it's too late and China exists.

  3. MtTopPatriot

    Well cared for horse is top notch meat. My grandfather had a pretty good system where we put an older horse in a small paddock and put the corn to them. 3 months of corn alfalfa and calf manner and we ate well. Makes outstanding kabobs’, you have to save back some side meat from a pig and add it for Hamburg. I think I tastes more like good deer meat than beef. Canned you can’t tell the difference between all three. We canned the balance left from the prime cuts and burger meat, with taters and carrots, and some Worcesterhire sauce, best darn beef stew imaginable. Canned its good for years. I still do my deer meat and lesser cuts from a beef this way. Ready meals and no need for a freezer.
    Just might go find me a horse. They are going cheap lately. Look for one been somebodies pet they been feeding Mint Milano’s and Twinkies.

  4. staghounds

    “not used in people any more. ” Unless those people are grooms or whippers-in, we use the hell out of bute.

  5. MtTopPatriot

    Spices! She don’t need no steekin’ spices!

    Lady in pic is probably checking a fetus see if that mare took yet, and she ain’t even close, that glove don’t go up to her armpit for nothing.

  6. Eric

    ‘“not used in people any more. ” Unless those people are grooms or whippers-in, we use the hell out of bute.’

    You give phenylbutazone to people? A lot? Interesting.

  7. revjen45

    I once ate enough donkey meat to get tired of it. Assuming that it’s similar to horsemeat, it sure doesn’t resemble beef.

  8. Jeb

    Bute is actually still commonly used here in the States by some. When I competed in rodeo, bute was a blessing in disguise and I wish I had the access for it today as pharmaceuticals have shown to be heavy on addiction with little emphasis on “works”. Bute works on inflammation and pain. I quit using it when I found out why the NFL banned its use…which is the fact it strips marrow from your bones. Of course, this was years ago now and the thought of climbing down in the chutes and nodding still gives me chub, my body will never consent. So yes, bute is still used by humans as well as heavily used in the veterinarian field for equine to this day. And yes, I do speak with experience…35 yrs with raising, breeding, showing and competing with horses, 7 yrs of professional bull riding with a few hrs of bareback broncs, many yrs of failed pharmaceutical prescriptions with an enlistment in the Army tossed in there as well.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I wonder if it has the same marrow effects on equines. Humans and horses are about 99% the same, biochemically. (As are all mammals… which is why we use small, handy, and not-too-lovable mice for experimental subjects). Some are closer than others; if you’re doing certain experiments you want ferrets, for instance.

  9. Jeb

    Few *years* of bares and my enlistment was mentioned because it feels good knowing I did something other than ranch and rodeo my whole life…

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