Why the outcry over eating horse meat?

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WITH the recent furore over horse meat appearing in so many beef products and pork protein appearing in Halal meat, one does certainly wonder if we can be sure of what we are eating as consumers.

The shock expressed by so many in the British Isles around the concept of even killing a horse for meat seems illogical when most have no qualms over killing and eating cows, lambs, pigs and other animals.

In fact, on one visit to the Continental Market outside Belfast City Hall in December, I noticed people queuing in order to sample burgers made from meats as diverse as kangaroo and crocodile. If such animals are embraced by locals as an acceptable food source, then why such an outcry about the consumption of horse?

The first laws governing food are actually in the Bible. There are lists of animals, birds and insects defined as either ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’.

Most of the prohibitions seem to be linked to the biological nature of the animal, ie whether it is a scavenger or not. Listed in the groups of ‘unclean’ animals are horses. Also included are pigs, and many kinds of seafood such as prawns, lobster, shellfish, oysters, scallops etc – all considered a delicacy today in gastronomic terms, so why did God outlaw them? Obviously, these creatures are only fit for consumption when they are raised unnaturally in clean environments where they are prevented from carrying out their created ecological purpose, that is to clean the planet and the oceans by eating the refuse and decaying waste that would otherwise pollute the earth.

Jesus as a Jew (Yeshua) alluded to these food laws when He spoke of “straining at a gnat”, ie taking a fly out of wine in order for it to be fit for use, yet “swallowing a camel”, a clear reference to knowingly eating unclean animals.

The Arabs who became Muslims obviously saw the wisdom of the Jews living among them who would have prospered health-wise from avoiding eating these proscribed animals in the deserts of Arabia.

The ‘horror’ in not eating horse should not be based on the fact that it is a favourite kind of animal, but whether or not we should be paying more attention to those biblical food laws which were obviously put in place for a reason. Strange how there are no mentions of cancer anywhere in the Bible. Just food for thought...

Colin Nevin,

Chef de Partie, Hilton Tel-Aviv, 1996-2002




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