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Continental Drifter

Continental Drifter is the Alan Skyrme Photography blog first established in 2004 under the banner Continental Drift. In it we publish snippets about nutrition, information about fruit and food, articles about travel experiences, travel reviews and other related notes.

Horses for courses

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I recently read an Economist 1843 Magazine article by Tom Rachman about a restaurant in Parma that serves raw horse meat sandwiches.

One can argue the ethics and taboos of eating horse meat but, when you think about it, it is really no different than eating the flesh of any animal, be it beef, lamb, goat or even dog.

This takes us into the realm of the ethics of being a non-veggie. In India, which is predominantly Hindu and thus vegetarian, restaurants that serve meat need to have separate kitchens and utensils for non-veg meals if they serve meat. McDonald's in India has a veggie and non-veg menu (the veggie burger is spicy and really quite nice!). The Hindu people have survived for centuries without the need meat in their diet and live long rich lives.

Many "enlightened" people in Europe, USA etc are moving away from meat-eating to either a vegetarian or vegan diet. This is a good thing for many reasons though vegans (not all by any means) have a bad reputation when a few of them advocate aggressively that the world must become vegan.

In a world brought up on a tradition of "meat and two veg," it's going to take time to break the habits of a lifetime. This needs to be done by education. We do not need meat in our diet, but most of us are used to it. It will take time to adjust to a healthy V diet. Social media seems to be passing on the message.

As far as eating horse meat is concerned, the arguments for are, in comparison to eating beef, greater than one might expect. Horse meat has more essential vitamins and minerals! Good for health, especially for older folk.

Access to horse meat, for anyone who wants it, varies by country. In Sicily, I was surprised at the number of equine butchers - in one road there were two within twenty metres of each other. In UK I expect it might be difficult to find one but no doubt they exist.

I admit to having tried horse meat and found it good. It isn't tough nor gamey in flavour, quite the opposite - tender and subtle. However, after a life of being non-vegetarian, I am weaning myself away from meat in general and have much more veg content in my diet. Show me a good salami, though, and I can't (yet) resist. Cheese, with nice bread and a glass of wine, irresistible. Some people can give up almost overnight.

I think the world needs to move away from meat eating but this needs both education and enticing options in both restaurants and supermarkets. If it looks and tastes good it doesn't really need a veggie or vegan label (when I order spaghetti napolitana I don't think "vegan", I think "pasta").


I'm looking for positive ways to entice folk to move away from meat diets. Hundreds of generations of meat-eating aren't going to come to an abrupt halt overnight, but a significant reduction in meat consumption could take effect quite quickly.