Horse Meat, Raccoon Meat, What’s Next?


The economy has done some crazy things to this country: unemployment and foreclosure rates sky high, people “occupying” every place from New York City to Suburbia. Times are changing. And now this?

Horse Meat, Anyone?

President Obama lifted the 5 year old ban on FDA inspections of horse meat a couple days ago, which means that if a slaughterhouse wants to kill horse, the FDA will check to see if they did it right. Which means that horse meat can now be commercially sold.

As a former horse owner and lover of all things horse, my stomach churns at the thought of eating a horse. It’s an irrational, emotional response – much the way I’d react if someone tried to feed me my dog. I will not eat horse unless I’m desperate, but I won’t judge you if you do.

Horses have been consumed since the Paleolithic era, and the US is sort of rare in that we DON’T consume horse meat anymore. The Chinese do. So do Mexicans, Russians, and Italians, among others. It’s similar in nutrient value to beef sirloin, but it’s a little lower in fat, higher in cholesterol (I don’t really care), and higher in iron.

Horses in this country are generally fed well. Nobody wants to pay the vet bill for a sick horse (trust me), so they eat mostly grass hay and some grain. That’s probably not the case in China, where they processed 1,700,000 horses in 2005. They’re probably treated much like conventional cattle are treated here, but I’m not about to look into it, lest I end up in tears.

The point is that it may – ahem – behoove some people to do away with their horses in this way. Some people are facing the decision of paying their mortgage or paying for their horse. This is really crude of me, but that’s what we used to do in the “olden” days, and not so long ago at that. If you couldn’t afford to feed your animal, you ate it. Don’t think that I would personally do this with my horse or dog, but I know there are plenty of people who think exactly this way. I just hope this doesn’t go the way of cattle feed lots. That would break my heart.

The Coon Hunter

In other news, Michiganders have resorted to eating raccoons in this time of economic despair. Detroit is so down and out, the former population of around 2 million has plummeted to about 900,000 in the last several years. That means there’s a lot more wildlife living in the abandoned space in the city, which reminds me of the movie I Am Legend. A man by the name of Glemie Dean Beasley sells raccoon, rabbit and squirrel carcasses for around $12 and their furs for a mere $10. I do really want a fur hat.

Here’s a little bit on Glemie Dean Beasley: “The story of Glemie Dean Beasley plays like a country song. The son of a sharecropper, Beasley left school at 13 to pick cotton. He came to Detroit in 1958. His woman left him in 1970 for a man he calls Slick Willy.”

Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

“The paw is old school,” says Glemie Dean Beasley, a Detroit raccoon hunter and meat salesman. “It lets the customers know it’s not a cat or dog.”

“Coon or rabbit. God put them there to eat. When men get hold of animals he blows them up and then he blows up. Fill ’em so full of chemicals and steroids it ruins the people. It makes them sick. Like the pigs on the farm. They’s 3 months old and weighing 400 pounds. They’s all blowed up. And the chil’ren who eat it, they’s all blowed up. Don’t make no sense.”

To be quite honest, the meat Glemie is selling out of his home is probably better than most of the meat you can find in the conventional supermarkets in Detroit, or the whole country for that matter. That is, if they don’t have rabies…

McDonald’s Does Its Best

And last but not least, in this time of economic distress, we have McDonald’s and Living Social, who together are kindly offering the world 5 Big Macs and 5 Large Fries for a paltry $13! If you go and buy it, I’m not sure what I’ll do. As if cheap, crappy food weren’t tempting enough, they had to offer you 1,204 calories (that’s one Big Mac and one large fry) of the most inflammatory, fattening food you’ll ever eat. For $2.60. Go kill a raccoon instead.


  1. My roots are sort of nomadic and I grew up eating beef, lamb and horse meat. However, I wouldn’t buy/eat horse meat in US. Ever. The way almost any farm animal treated/raised here, yes even in organic farms, is not the way animal treated/used for meat. Chances of me eating anything raised fin China way bellow zero as well. This may sounds outdated but my family almost always (other times given by relatives) raised any farm animal for our diet. Horses used for work and not diet were never, never used for meat. My father told me that even though he was experienced in how to do it the right and as much as possible humane way, it never got easier and emotionally very difficult to kill a horse. Once as a little girl I wanted to know what and why I wasn’t allowed to see when my dad and my uncles did with the horse, so I hid myself and witnessed the process. Not going to lie I was traumatized and cried hysterically. I was of course caught and harshly punished. I understood why my father didn’t want me to know and wanted to protect my feelings. I didn’t eat horse meat for over a year after that incident but then went back to it, as it is by far one of the leanest, cleanest red meats in my cultures diet. I guess this, and like any other blog is an opinion, and I wouldn’t judge or object anyone who says its immoral and wrong to eat horse meat, especially if it wasn’t part of their culture.
    p.s. I am new to Paleo Diet. I did give dairy. Not hard. Giving grain carbs are harder but I am off grains. Waiting for Kelp noodles to arrive.

  2. I wouldn’t personally eat horse, rabbit, dog, etc.. I admit I’m part of the people who have no guilt eating beef or ham too often (unless I think about it). Organic / free range versions especially. But even organic meats, even killed in the most ‘kosher’ fashion possible, die an unnatural death (sooner than intended, by human intervention). They live a far better, healthier life (healthier for the eater of them as well), but it’s not the same as living in the wild to old-age and a quiet death by natural causes in their sleep. It never will be. This is a conundrum for meat eaters of the world.

    I’ve reduced the meat I eat to probably 80% less than typical westerners. Seems I can’t get rid of it all and get enough calories. Maybe if I had a stay-at-home wife, and money to buy all things organic. But we both work beyond full-time hours, and can’t afford non-conventional food as much as I’d like. We’re miles from the nearest farmers market that isn’t open when we’re not at work, and even farther from direct-buys from local farm stands (many of which are not organic, local doesn’t always mean organic, free-range, etc.. This is reality for more & more today.

    The solution of affluence or living near to easy access to lower cost organics/free-range than the Whole Foods so many have to depend on for such foods (at a far higher price) isn’t out there, and it’s diminishing as we work more hours for less money. That’s why people ‘occupy’, and I hope they don’t quit. I digress. I can’t say exactly why and neither can my wife, why we would have a bigger problem with horse meat than cattle meat. Yes, cattle used for beef are domesticated, horses are not meant for food, but for work. I agree with that, but there is more to this.

    It’s why more people have a problem with hunters killing rabbits or deer (very surplus populations in many areas, to the point of being problematic) but not boars. Boars are ugly, rabbits & deer are cute. While cattle aren’t particularly hideous, horses are considered beautiful. They are given a higher value soley based on appearance. Eat bison you hunted, in the wild, in a grass-land, you get recognition for how healthy the meat is. Say you ate a surplus and wild horse (there are problmatic surplus populations of them) and you are cruel, some friends may no longer talk to you.

    I’m not encouraging that, I wouldn’t do that. I’m making a point. Someone blind their whole life is told of both. Bison just came off the endangered species list. It may have less than a 5% surplus population, and lives wild in the grass lands. Surplus wild horses could be at 40% in excess of sustainable lands in some areas. They eat grass, walk on all fours like the bison. So what is different? The blind man would say, if you must chose, eat the horses. They have a larger, sometimes problematic surplus population. But the person with vision hearing that would disagre with them.

    Why? Well, uh, well, you know, they, uh. They are better looking. Kind of like stadiums full of crazy kid fans of the latest teen pop star. The could be up there farting on stage singing in a different language and it wouldn’t matter. That’s not why they are there. A technically proficient jazz musician may have more talent in their pinky, and their songs might be a lot better, but they play small clubs to ‘old’ folks. Some parents will favor better looking children over others. Some teachers will. The point is, we as a society must admit to, then deal with, our visual handicap.

  3. I actually find it quite funny how everyone is so prejudiced against horsemeat. In my country it is quite commonly eaten and nobody really seems to have any seconds thoughts about it. There’s just not much difference between eating pork, chicken or horsemeat. Meat is meat.

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