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Why it’s okay to eat horse

photo of horse on grass field under cloudy sky, coloured horse

Being a horse owner, people always assume I am against people eating horse. I have had people try to wind me up by telling me about a horse steak they have eaten in the past. But this doesn’t actually bother me. I think it is okay to eat horse.

I’m Not Vegetarian

I’m not vegetarian. So I find it hard as a meat eater to say what meat is and isn’t okay to eat. Just because I like horses and think they fantastic animals, doesn’t mean they have more rights than any other animal. In some cultures cows are sacred and I have no problem eating them. Pigs are super intelligent and biologically close to humans but I eat them. I don’t know if I personally would eat horse, or dog for that matter. But I don’t have a problem with other people choosing to eat them.

Ethics Of Unusual Meat

While I don’t have a problem with what meat people choose to eat, I do think that all meat should be as ethical as possible. I think one of the potential issues of eating more unusual meat such as horse is that they aren’t always farmed like other animals are. This means that they might not be held to the same welfare standards in their life time as the great farming standards we have in the UK. There were also issues highlighted in a recent documentary about how some horses were treated in the UK Abatoir, some of which were able to go for human consumption.

I sometimes think that if horse did become a more popular meat in the UK, then there would be a lot more scrutiny on the welfare around horse meat.

Eating Wild Ponies

Maintaining the populations of feral native ponies in the UK is expensive and the farmers who let the ponies roam on their land lose money in letting them stay there. In 2017 I stumbled upon an article about how a conservation society taking unusual steps to save the Dartmoor pony population. A number of ponies have to be culled each year to keep the population under control. By allowing farmers to sell this meat for human consumption, the farmers can afford to and are more willing to put time and money into preserving the remaining population of horses. To me, this is a great example of how eating horse can actually benefit horses on the whole.

Racehorse To Main Course

I do find it sad that so many racehorses are still marked in their passport as available for human consumption. Scottie was about 4 when he was first marked as not for human consumption. It’s hard not to find that sad when they are such incredible athletes and could have so much more still to offer. But equally, we do have a huge horse population in the UK.

So many horses, not just ex racehorses, are in need of long term homes. While it is sad to put a healthy horse down, I personally think that if it means one less horse will be neglected or suffer, it can be worthwhile. Although shouldn’t be the first or easy options. Many euthanised horses go to feed animals, especially zoo animals. If more of these horses could go into the human foodchain, this money could be used to improve the welfare of the living horses.

Eating horses is a very sensitive topic and some people are always going to be defensive and maybe even offended by it. But in my opinion, unless you are vegetarian, you are not in a position to tell people what animals are and are not okay to eat. I also think that if done correctly, making horse meat more popular could even improve the welfare of horses in the long run.

Last Updated on 29/04/2022

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