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.