On holiday to France as a boy, I made a great noise about the fact I was going to eat horse. It was nice. “Tastes a bit like beef,” I thought. But now it transpires that horse and cow are interchangeable in the hallowed aisles of Iceland and Tesco, and we are all so shocked and appalled.
The thing I am upset about with this scandal is it is actually perfect for the government. I am not being partisan, but governments should never have ‘easy’ scandals, that would be no fun at all. Firstly, it mainly affects people who will never vote Tory – the poor, the unemployed, Kerry Katona and people from the northeast. Secondly, it is an opportunity to attack the French. But then the plot thickens and we can now attack people in Eastern Europe, people who are proud of their gypsy heritage. It is like a UKIP-planned disaster to rock the Daily Mail reader into turning on our poor and on our neighbours. Why was no fuss made when people started putting tins of turkeyham on our supermarket shelves?
I understand that people should know what they are eating, but when you look at the ingredients for, say, hot dogs and find out that they are made from 56% mechanically reclaimed chicken it is fair to say we have not being paying too much attention for quite some time.
The thing that is really shocking about this whole scandal is the effect of traffic laws on market forces. In Romania, the change in the law that stopped the horse and cart on the highways has lead to a drop in horsemeat prices that has acted as a catalyst for this whole scandal. Imagine if we decided to protect teenage girls from serious head injuries and embarrassing tight beige trousers and banned gymkhana, would our local butchers start selling horsemeat as a cheap, locally produced, quality alternative to beef? Probably not. One thing I am sure of is that if they had found fox in the food chain people would not be that bothered at all.
Horses for main courses
On beast and fish we all must dine
Enjoy and share these foods so fine
Sourced from freezers deep and wide
But what was sent down that abattoir slide?
Those beasts more noble than most others
We cannot dine on our equine brothers
Are standards primed and armed to double
At the first chance of French-based trouble?
We turn our attention to the pork chop
Safe by sight no clippity-clop clippity-clop
We should invade France and take hostages
But just don’t tell them what we put in our sausages
Please drop your expenses to me by the close of play