About horse meat[edit | edit source]
Horse meat is the culinary name for meat cut from a horse. It is a major meat in only a few countries, notably in Central Asia, but it forms a significant part of the culinary traditions of many others, from Europe to South America to China. The top eight countries consume about 4.7 million horses a year. For the majority of mankind’s early existence wild horses were hunted as a source of protein. According to Viande Richelieu, one of the largest North American horsemeat exporters, it is slightly sweet, tender, low in fat, and high in protein. However, because of the role horses have played as a companion and as a worker, and concerns about the cruelty of the horse slaughter process, it is a taboo food in many cultures. These historical associations, as well as ritual and religion, led to the development of the aversion to the consumption of horse meat. The horse is now given pet status by many in the western world, which further solidifies the taboo on eating its meat. This avoidance (and the loss of taste for it) is relatively modern, although it arises out of complex historical and cultural origins.