Ironic Indignation

horse-meat1Back in my meat eating days I would listen in horror as news reporters gleefully told me about outbreaks of Mad Cow Disease and meat processing plants contaminated with deadly e-coli.  The thought that my meat could actually kill me was enough to keep me from eating any for up to 30 or even 40 minutes in some cases.

As a vegan, these horror stories about diseased meat and bacteria laden dairy don’t effect me the same way anymore.  Now they fill me with a different sense of dread since I’ve learned how the meat and dairy industries cull the effected and surrounding herds when disease is found.  “Cull” is a very polite way of saying that they carry out an animal massacre of epic proportions.

Luckily, the most recent meat related news flash was not a story of disease and culling.  Instead, it seemed more like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials.  Now the lucky hamburger lovers in the UK are facing the same kind of exciting sense of edible discovery as the actors in the old commercials who accidentally discovered the great taste combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  However, the dialogue from the commercials would be a little different for today’s version of discovery.

“You got your horse meat in my ground beef!”

“Well, you got your ground beef in my horse meat!!”

Both actors take a bite and roll their eyes.

In unison: “Hey, these are two great tastes that taste great together!!

I’m sorry.  I know that is a gross and horrible thing to joke about but British omnivores have been unknowingly wolfing down horse meat <here is the article> and nobody knows for how long.  One distributor was clocked at more than 25% horse meat in their ground beef.

The thought of killing cows to make food has become foreign to me.  The thought of killing horses for food has always been foreign to me.  I can understand the outrage felt by the British omnivores who have been unknowingly eating horse- but that doesn’t mean that it the whole situation isn’t wrought with irony.

The hamburger lovers are making a raucous public outcry because the dead and ground up animal they thought they were eating was actually a combination of two dead and ground up animals.  Eating horse seems to be an abomination while eating cow seems to be a natural and normal practice for humans.  Does this strike anyone as a little hypocritical?

I’m not suggesting that people embrace the horse as a meat animal for people instead of just for dog food companies in Mexico.  Instead I am wondering if perhaps the disgust people feel about eating a horse could be broadened to include other species.  If horse meat is vile then maybe cows and pigs are too.  If bald eagles and vultures are off the menu, maybe turkey and chicken should be too.

In any case, it is nice to know that I’ve removed myself from the meat and animal product system.  When unscrupulous meat processing plants spread disease or extra animal species I don’t need to worry about being one of their victims.  They are dirty and evil industries and it is a huge relief to have washed my hands of them.


About jasongillett

I'm Jason Gillett, 2 year VEGAN, and a 41 year old family man. My wife & I teach in a FL school. I am using a blog to chronicle our family's new life. View all posts by jasongillett

12 responses to “Ironic Indignation

  • Karin

    Yes! I love horses but always thought it strange that people would be appalled at killing and eating horses but not cows or pigs (or chickens, rabbits, ducks…). I also don’t get why or how dead flesh would be appealing to anyone as food. Yuck.

    • jasongillett

      We have pet guinea pigs- they are such social creatures it is against the law to sell them individually in Sweden because they would get lonely. Yet in Peru they eat them. By the tens of millions I learned!!

      I find it very hopeful that most people can be repulsed by the idea of eating SPECIFIC animals. It means we are mere steps away from having more people that are repulsed by the idea of eating ANY animals.

      Go team!!

  • Annmarie Brennan

    Amen, Jason, Amen.

  • Bea V Elliott

    I love the way the great orator, philanthropist and human/animal rights activists phrased it… We’re already not eating the majority of species on the planet. All we have to do is include three more: Cows, chickens and pigs. Indeed it is telling of the dissonance in being shaken by horse meat when there’s no meaningful difference between horses, zebras, gazelles or cows! I too am relieved at having washed my (once bloody) hands of it all! 😉

    • jasongillett

      Love it! “Once bloody hands.” Boy, can I relate to that. I try to keep my long history of meat eating in mind when I hear about other people who can’t imagine being vegan. I am so comfortably in love with this new life that I have to force myself to remember how I used to think and feel. Thanks Bea!! : )

  • nomeatbarefeet

    Jonathan Safron Foer’s apt narrative concerning the eating of dogs seems to hit on the same issue. Why do we (and why did I) believe that eating one animal is justifiable, but eating another is outrageous–disgusting–unfathomable–perhaps even illegal? Where is the threshold at which we believe that it is ok to take an animal’s life for the sake of a tasty meal? Pigs are as intelligent as dogs, yet the latter are deemed pets while the former are deemed products. It’s is a mistaken and irrational classification, and one that has become subservient to our taste for something delicious. Sad.

  • Somer

    You’re spot on. I had a conversation the other day with my 4 year old. He said “Mommy, we don’t eat cows, they’re too big to fit in our mouths” I said “what about pigs?” “too dirty” “what about chickens?” “too many feathers” Then he said. Animals are our friends. Eating them is mean. Precious moment.

  • pinkunderbelly

    Because we have a pet pig (who is much cleaner than our dog, BTW), the idea of eating pork is one-thousand-million percent repulsive. Our little piggie is smarter than some toddlers I know, extremely loving, and mischievous. We’ve heard out share of jokes about having our own little bacon factory, etc. Not funny.

  • Sheree

    The whole thing is fascinating and the fact that we recoil in horror at the eating (or abuse) of *any* animal shows me what is our true spirit~~to be plant-eaters.

    HOWEVER. I am owned by two lovely horses. And I have watched in horror the videos of what happens when a horse is sent to slaughter. They are not like cows in the way they move and the way they sense things. If watching a cow get slaughtered is horrifying (which it is), watching a horse go to slaughter is like watching the worst thing you’ve ever seen and then multiplying it by 1000. They are *so* fearful and *so* afraid and jerk all over the place and I am about to cry just thinking about it. A cow can’t run at a speed of 30 mph and so doesn’t try~~imagine an animal who *can* run that fast, and wants to, but cannot.

    AND YET. Being part of many online horse communities, I’ve seen over and over again my horse friends say they think horse slaughter is okay. Why? Because “we have to do something with all the extra horses.” I won’t go off on that rant, but it pains me to hear that slaughter is the only answer in their minds.

    But these same people? If I were to post graphic images of their steaks and bacon being slaughtered, they would block me from their newsfeed. And yet they gleefully post the “post-slaughter” images of their meals for all to see as if there is no connection between pre-slaughter and post-slaughter. And we’re all supposed to “like” the photos on Facebook.

    We humans have *so* much cognitive dissonance when it comes to food and the horse meat scenario is just one of many!

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