There’s a bit of a twit about a Canadian cooking show that aired on May 16, 2011. According to CNN’s Eatocracy website, the lesson for the day was how to cook traditional French food, including horsemeat. Apparently, Food Network Canada, the show’s producers, justified the idea by playing the goodwill culture card:
Horsemeat is also considered a delicacy in many cultures around the world. While we understand that this content may not appeal to all viewers, Food Network Canada aims to engage a wide audience, embracing different food cultures in our programming.
The article stated that eating horsemeat is not just about wild horses but the photo that accompanied the article clearly suggests otherwise. Instead of showing retired race horses or petered-out pleasure ponies, the photo gives us a view of what looks like a herd of captured wild horses against a dramatic, anonymous high country backdrop. If I were a Canadian who knew little about the wild horse controversy raging in the United States, I might connect the show with wild horses. Like, did the meat sizzling on the show’s stoves come from mustangs captured in the American West? Is my local butcher featuring mustangs this week?
No one except maybe the top chefs and perhaps Food Network Canada knows where the meat used on the show came from; however, an Eatocracy poll from January 5, 2011, says the article, shows that “a substantial portion of the population expects to see a shift in perception toward horse meat consumption in the United States” . The poll, titled Making a Meal of Mustang, followed brief coverage of the 2011 Summit of the Horse, which convened in Las Vegas, NV that same month. The January poll showed that almost 35% of 24, 213 responses thought that the US would never eat horsemeat. Of all the 5,547 responses to a previous June 22, 2010 poll about eating horses, 42% said no way, no how.
But, what population? It’s unknown whether participants included those living in the US, Canadians speculating about US food preferences, or both.
Back in the early part of the 20th century, mustangs in the American West were hunted down and rounded up, and many of them were sold to supply the growing pet food industry. Now, seven months away from the 40th anniversary of the passage of the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which federally protects these animals, we’re still talking about sending them to slaughter. Only this time, some are trying hard to create a market for human consumption, which if successful could mean that federal protection is nothing more than government sanctioned mustanging.
And, speaking of eating wild-caught horses, From Western Colorado wants your input and we’ve created another poll. This time, we want to know if you would really make a burger from horses raised on the ranges of the American West. Poll is open until midnight June 17, 2011.
And, thanks for listening…