Dinner! Cheval, worms, and meds

So many strange arguments in favor of horse meat on the table! It increases the value of horses, or provides a suitable ending for “unwanted” horses, or relieves the unnecessary burden of horse carcass disposal from landfill facilities.

(The landfill argument is my favorite. Apparently Americans’ producing an average of 1600 pounds of personal garbage per year is not the biggest problem facing the sanitation business, it’s horse carcasses. Or so people have very passionately argued to me.)

It’s too bad not enough people realize that horse meat is, in fact, POISONOUS. Tiny little detail.

Horse meat in the Netherlands. -wikipedia

So when a friend pointed out a column in the Toronto Sun about a merry little adventure eating cheval at the local French bistro, I was less impressed by his sarcastic quips about John Wayne and War Horse, and more concerned about his health insurance.

Strobel writes:

It’s delicious. Horse is remarkably tender, lean and sweet and it’s packed with protein and iron.

Too bad it’s horse. I hear “hi-yo, Silver!” every time I chew.

“I can understand why people who grew up around horses wouldn’t want to eat them,” says the chef. “I had a girlfriend who rode dressage. She thought this was awful.”

Haha, a hi-ho Silver joke while he’s eating a horse. Oh, and dude, your girlfriend thought it was awful? That’s probably because she’d sweated a few legs with furazone in her time.

Liz O’Connell stepped up and wrote Strobel a much-needed correction to his article, which she was nice enough to share with me. I thought it was too good not to share with you. 

Hi Mike,

Horse slaughter has not resumed in the US. Recent federal legislation enabled funding of slaughter house inspectors, but my understanding is none of that funding has been appropriated. So the horse meat you are eating, if it is from the US, is more than likely tainted with a whole host of pharmaceuticals.

The drug I would worry about most if I indulged in horsemeat would be chloramphenicol. It is routinely given to horses in the US — and is a surefire way for a human to develop aplastic anemia. To even administer the drug to a horse, I have to wear double surgical gloves. Then there is furacin which is a listed human carcinogen. If a horse gets a wound, furacin is the first defense.

Did you know that horsemeat is a major conduit for trichonosis? There have been fatal outbreaks in Europe. The problem is the dewormer that is effective against the trichonosis parasite is outlawed for use in animals slaughtered for human consumption. And once the parasite encysts in the horse’s muscle the dewormer doesn’t work. So there the parasitic worm it sits, waiting to be eaten, ready to colonize a gourmand.

Hope you are feeling OK,

Well said, Liz! If this doesn’t result in late-night visits to WebMD, I don’t know what will.

You can read the article (and comment!) here:

Strobel: A horse for first course | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun.



Filed under Media Coverage, Outside Sites, slaughter

19 responses to “Dinner! Cheval, worms, and meds

  1. Natalie,
    Love, love, love this!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I loved the letter sent by Liz.

  3. Wow the picture of the packaged horsemeat really got me – I don’t eat the meat of any hoofed or winged animal, but the sight of my most beloved species lying there ready for human consumption is really disturbing. But thanks for sharing nonetheless. And that letter is great.

    • Interesting, I was wondering if that would turn anyone’s stomach. I don’t think it’s particularly stand-out as horse (I mean, Wikipedia COULD have lied about what’s in the photo… I don’t speak Dutch, I don’t know!) but somehow I found this less objectionable than seeing an artfully presented filet, plated for dining… oh ick. Sorry to have gotten your stomach so early in the morning, Corinne! 😦

  4. Julie Smith

    Kudos to a well written piece of Cheval! Sharing. Thanks for the poisonous words of truth!

  5. Michael Martin

    “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.” “Facts are stubborn things”. There ought to be some journalistic standard applied to opinion. Chloramphenicol is not widely used, and is not an approved veterinary medication; nor is the trichomonas parasite widely distributed in the equine world. Now, horse meat is not something which I have ever tried, nor would I be inclined to

    Emotional appeals to policy decisions are almost always invalid; factoids substituting for emotion handwringing are transparent, false, and demeaning. Horses are livestock, legally and otherwise. After all, why state that “you can’t hug a Thoroughbred”? We may not appreciate what others do with their property. Losing your credibility, through such false arguments, may not be in your interest, excepting the True Believers (see Eric Hoffer). Journalism implies some sort of adherence to standards.

    • You’re welcome to read my prior work if you are uncertain of my position on this issue, or if you haven’t been able to find access to data on the toxic substances present in horse meat. But please don’t cite “You Can’t Hug A Thoroughbred” as a treatise against keeping horses as pets: that’s not what it’s about. If you would like to read some of my prior posts, complete with citations from the European Union’s food safety documentation, you may find that you are mistaken in your opinion of me and my writing. But thank you for reading, and commenting.

      • Michael Martin

        Chloramphenicol production has been stopped in western countries since the nineties, and discouraged in most instances in veterinary applications. Trichomonas is certainly not toxoplasmosis, and my view is certainly not ignorant. Simply put, there is not room for “tens of thousands” broken down two, three, and four year old thoroughbreds. These statements are not fatuous, but factual; one questions whether there are indeed tens of thousands broken down on the track, and where such statistics originate. The aplastic anemia cited is rare and unpredictable even when chloramphenicol is administered directly, about 1 in 250,000 cases when administered at all. Butazolidin is not used in human medicine. Tissue residues are a fact in all animal species consumed by humans, and these cases do require monitoring and testing to minimize incidental ingestion by humans. All of this argues for inspected slaughter of horses here in the United States where effective regimens can be implemented to safeguard the food supply.

        The Congressional Budget Office quite correctly points out the increase in horse suffering which has followed misguided efforts, and, yes, emotional appeals, to ban slaughter in the United States. No, I am not uncertain about your position, just correctly pointing out that emotional appeals are appropriate for the True Believers, but not for policy decisions with such huge economic and animal welfare impacts. Of course, my expectation was that the villification would begin as soon as my post was read. The name calling and mischaracterization were part of that expectation. Horses are livestock, and do belong to other people.

        We support several Thoroughbreds which are not useful as sport horses. They are fat and happy on the ranch at this moment. Should those who oppose slaughter purchase and support several similiar horses, at their own expense, then they could personally know the scale and effect such ownership requires.

      • Kim

        Yes, I know full well the cost of keeping horses. I have two who are pasture ornaments. And still I oppose slaughter anywhere as it now stands. The term “inspected slaughter” is an oxymoron because our government does not hold up their end of this responsibility and to let horses, or indeed any animal, go to our slaughterhouses is to subject them to the most cruel suffering imaginable.

        If we are to bring horses, or any animal, into this world, own them, have them do our bidding, then it is our responsibility to keep them humanely from cradle to grave. I am not against slaughter per se, but I am against cruelty. Convince me that the slaughterhouses are humane and I will support them. At present, there has been too much evidence to the contrary.

      • Michael Martin

        It is easy to agree with your perspective. And it is probably impossible to make slaughterhouses completely humane, merely for the fact of what happens there. Since we know that horse commerce has continued, despite a slaughter ban in the United States, and that the ban has caused increased suffering and less humane treatment, it would follow that humane conditions can best be attempted here, in the United States. Enforcement costs will need to be paid. The flow of horses entering this avenue toward Mexico and Canada did not diminish during the ban. Something must be done to stop this insane, inhumane process. Regulated and inspected slaughter within our borders is most likely to achieve a fair degree of humane conditions, and most likely to decrease the suffering.

      • Kim

        I will be amazed if there is a way of ensuring that “regulated and inspected slaughter” happens. The government officials are a joke. Until then, I am vegan and I will not support any kind of slaughter.

        Don’t own a horse unless you are prepared to take care of it to the end. Put money aside to put it down humanely if need be. Those are the messages I can get behind.

    • Christi

      Not sure where in the heck you normally get your info from but, Chloramphenicol is widely used in Vet medicine & I even have some leftover in my animal, medicine cabinet, right at this very moment!! Stick that in your hat!

    • Marie

      Martin doesn’t seem to be very familiar with horses. That’s another problem with this issue; too many ignorant people are looking down on the horse community, claiming out reasons for vehemently fighting slaughter are purely emotional. No one has mentioned bute yet; any animal given bute in its lifetime is supposed to be kept out of the slaughter pipeline. Bute isn’t just given to racehorses and competition horses; the average horse owner uses it regularly.

    • Kim

      Horses are livestock…

      Yes that may be, and I am vegan because ALL of our livestock are poorly to cruelly handled. Living conditions are one thing. But the elephant in the room is the slaughterhouse. These are houses of the most cruel and torturous conditions you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. No one is watching, no one is overseeing. That is the irony of this new law. They are funding inspections now! Ha! The inspections don’t happen! See Bushway Packing in Vermont. Until we focus the lens on the slaughterhouses, all the efforts we make for the animals are moot, unless we keep them out of them.

    • Irene Filacchione

      Giving bute to horses, which is routinely done in the US, poisons the meat and does cause various blood diseases, including aplastic anemia (article on a study done in Ireland, plus work by Dr. Marini and probably more info out there). There is no “expiration” of the effect of this drug, stays in the system indefinitely. Then come the wormers, which is the reason horse meat is no longer part of any (reputable) dog food as it used to be. Too many dogs were dieing. These two alone would stop me if I were inclined to eat horse meat. These are facts you can easily verify, not “my own” assertions.

  6. mary bradley

    One of the biggest problems with pro slaughter people is the amount of iignorance they they have. Ignorance is damgerous.

  7. kathyh

    The testing protocol in Canada leaves a lot to be desired.Even if they are testing the organs for bute..It would hardly be any assurance the meat from horses is bute free , Out of 60,000 + Horses Slaughtered in canada an average of only 3-400 carcasses are tested, Per statement of Dr. Brian Evans Chief Vet. Officer & Chief Food Safety Officer. So….59,600 -59,700 horse carcasses are not inspected at all before ending up on plates~ Min. 8:42 of recording: http://www.news957.com/listen/listenplayer/326425–thursday-february-2-1130am

  8. kathyh

    Also in some countries horse meat is served as sushi and eaten raw there have been confirmed cases of toxoplasmosis associated with horse meat & at least one documented death http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/17/7/10-1642_article.htm

  9. K Muir

    Just want to add that I used Furazone on my horses regularly for most of my life, applying it without gloves, even though it clearly states on the label that it causes cancer. At 37 I was diagnosed with cancer. Maybe one had nothing to do with the other, but just saying.

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