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A butcher shop specializing in horse meat in Pezenas, Languedoc, France.

Horse meat is the culinary name for meat cut from a horse. It is a major meat in only a few countries, notably in Central Asia, but it forms a significant part of the culinary traditions of many others, from Europe to South America to China. The top eight countries consume about 4.7 million horses a year. For the majority of mankind’s early existence wild horses were hunted as a source of protein.[1][2] It is slightly sweet, tender, low in fat, and high in protein.[3] However, because of the role horses have played as a companion and as a worker, it is a taboo food in many cultures. These historical associations, as well as ritual and religion, led to the development of the aversion to the consumption of horse meat. The horse is now given pet status by many in the western world, which further solidifies the taboo on eating its meat. This avoidance (and the loss of taste for it) is relatively modern, although it arises out of complex historical and cultural origins.



In the late Paleolithic (Magdalenian Era), wild horses formed an important source of food. In many parts of Europe, the consumption of horse meat continued throughout the Middle Ages until modern times, despite a Papal ban of horse meat in 732 CE. Horse meat was also eaten as part of Germanic pagan religious ceremonies in northern Europe, particularly ceremonies associated with the worship of Odin.

Domesticated horses and cattle did not exist in the Americas until the Age of Discovery, and the Conquistadors owed much of their success to their war horses. The Europeans' horses became feral, and were hunted by the indigenous Pehuenche people of what is now Chile and Argentina[4]. At first they hunted horses as they did other game, but later they began to raise them for meat and transport. The meat was, and still is, preserved by being sun-dried in the high Andes into a product known as charqui.

France dates its taste for horse meat to the Revolution. With the fall of the aristocracy, its auxiliaries had to find new means of subsistence. Just as hairdressers and tailors set themselves up to serve commoners, the horses maintained by aristocracy as a sign of prestige ended up alleviating the hunger of lower classes[5]. It was during the Napoleonic campaigns when the surgeon-in-chief of Napoleon's Grand Army, Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey, advised the starving troops to eat the meat of horses. At the siege of Alexandria, the meat of young Arab horses relieved an epidemic of scurvy. At the battle of Eylau in 1807, Larrey served horse as soup and bœuf à la mode. In Aspern-Essling (1809), cut from the supply lines, the cavalry used the horses' breastplates as cooking pots and gunpowder as seasoning, and thus founded a tradition[6][7].

Hunger during World War II leads to horses being eaten

Horse meat gained widespread acceptance in French cuisine during the later years of the Second French Empire. The high cost of living in Paris prevented many working-class citizens from buying meat such as pork or beef, so in 1866 the French government legalized the eating of horse meat and the first butcher's shop specializing in horse meat opened in eastern Paris, providing quality meat at lower prices.[8] During the Siege of 1870-71, horse meat was eaten by anyone who could afford it, partly because of a shortage of fresh meat in the blockaded city, and also because horses were eating grain which was needed by the human populace. Many Parisians gained a taste for horse meat during the siege, and after the war ended, horse meat remained popular. Likewise, in other places and times of siege or starvation, horses are viewed as a food source of last resort.

Despite the general Anglophone taboo, horse and donkey meat was eaten in Britain, especially in Yorkshire, until the 1930s[9], and in times of post-war food shortage surged in popularity in the United States [10] and was considered for use in hospitals [11]. A 2007 Time magazine article about horse meat brought in from Canada to the United States characterized the meat as sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, and closer to beef than venison.[12]



Attitude of various cultures

Horse is commonly eaten in many countries in Europe and Asia.[13] It is a taboo food in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, the US, English Canada and in Australia; it is also taboo amongst the Romani people and in Brazil and India. Horse meat is not generally eaten in Spain, although the country exports horses both "on the hoof and on the hook" (i.e., live animals and slaughtered meat) for the French and Italian market; however, horse meat is consumed in some Latin American countries such as Mexico. It is illegal in some countries. In Tonga horse meat is eaten nationally, and Tongan emigrees living in Utah have retained the taste for it, claiming Christian missionaries originally introduced it to them [14].

In many Muslim countries today, horse meat is considered makruh, meaning it is not forbidden, but strongly discouraged. One reason given for its prohibition is the need for horses in military and other uses, and as such, considering the decline in use of horses for such purposes, some consider its consumption permissible. Horse meat is eaten in some Muslim Central Asian countries with a tradition of nomadic pastoralism, e.g., Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. In other majority-Muslim countries there have been many instances, especially wars and famine, when horses were slaughtered and eaten.[citation needed] In the past, horse has been eaten by Persians, Turks, some hanafi Egyptians, and Tatars; but it has never been eaten in the Maghreb.[15]

Horse meat is forbidden by Jewish dietary laws because horses do not have cloven hooves and they are not ruminants. It has been suggested that this holds a practical purpose as horses were used as a means of transportation and did work, although this is doubtful due to the lack of the horse collar at the time of the formation of these laws.

In the eighth century, Popes Gregory III and Zachary instructed Saint Boniface, missionary to the Germans, to forbid the eating of horse meat to those he converted, due to its association with Germanic pagan ceremonies.[16][17] The people of Iceland allegedly expressed reluctance to embrace Christianity for some time, largely over the issue of giving up horse meat.[18] In the end, the eating of horsemeat was a concession granted in perpetuity when the pagan Norse Icelanders eventually adopted Christianity en masse in the year 1000 (although, in fact, the Church reversed its position soon afterwards). The culturally close people of Sweden still have an ambivalent attitude to horsemeat, said to stem from this time.

Henry Mayhew describes the difference in the acceptability and use of the horse carcasse in London and Paris in London Labour and the London Poor(1851)[19]. Horse meat was rejected by the British, but continued to be eaten in other European countries such as France and Germany, where knackers often sold horse carcasses underhand despite the Papal ban. Even the hunting of wild horses for meat continued in the area of Westphalia. Londoners also suspected that horse meat was finding its way into sausages, and that offal sold as that of oxen was in fact equine. About 1000 horses were slaughtered a week.

Reasons for the taboo

In some countries the effects of this prohibition by the Roman Catholic Church have lingered, and horse meat prejudices have progressed from taboos, to avoidance, to abhorrence.[18] In other parts of the world, horse meat has the stigma of being something poor people eat and is seen as a cheap substitute for other meats, such as pork and beef.

According to the anthropologist Marvin Harris[5] some cultures class horsemeat as taboo because the horse converts grass into meat less efficiently than ruminants. When breeding cattle for meat, a cow or a sheep will produce more meat than a horse if fed with the same amount of grass.

There is also an element of sentimentality, as horses have long enjoyed a close relationship with many humans, on a similar level to household pets – this can be seen projected in such Anglophone cultural icons such as Black Beauty and My Little Pony. Compare with the anthropomorphic animals in Babe, Charlotte's Web, and Freddy the Pig.

Totemistic taboo is also a possible reason for refusal to eat horsemeat as an everyday food, but did not necessarily preclude ritual slaughter and consumption. Roman sources state that the goddess Epona was widely worshipped in Gaul and southern Britain. Epona, a triple aspect goddess, was the protectress of the horse and horse keepers, and horses were sacrificed to her [20]; she was paralleled by the Irish Macha and Welsh Rhiannon. The Uffington White Horse is probable evidence of ancient horse worship. The ancient Indian Brahmins engaged in horse sacrifice (Ashwamedh Yaghya), as recorded in the Vedas (but they not kill the Horse).[21] In 1913, the Finnic Mari people of the Volga region were observed to practice a horse sacrifice.[21].

In ancient Scandinavia, the horse was very important, as a living, working creature, as a sign of the owner's status, and symbolically within the old Norse religion. Horses were slaughtered as a sacrifice to the gods and the meat was eaten by the people taking part in the religious feasts.[22] When the Nordic countries were Christianized, eating horsemeat was regarded as a sign of paganism and prohibited. A slight skepticism against eating horsemeat is still common as a reminder of this in these countries even today.[23]

It is notable that, despite horses having been bred in England since pre-Roman times, the English language has no widely used term for horse meat, as opposed to four for pig meat (pork, bacon, ham, gammon), three for sheep meat (lamb, hogget and mutton), two for cow meat (beef and veal), and so on. English speaking countries, however, have sometimes marketed horsemeat under the euphemism "cheval meat" (cheval being the French for horse). Also, note that the words pork, bacon, mutton, veal, and beef all derive from Anglo-Norman vocabulary, because of the class structure of England after the Norman Conquest in 1066 CE: the poor (Saxons) tended the animals, while the rich (French-speaking Normans) ate the meat. The peasants had very little to do with horses.


In most countries where horses are slaughtered for food, they are processed in a similar fashion to cattle, i.e., in large-scale factory slaughter houses (abattoirs) where they are stunned with a captive bolt gun and bled to death. (Note that it is not always clear whether "horse slaughter" refers only to horse meat for human consumption, or whether it also includes pet food and meat for carnivores, e.g. in zoos; see knacker.) In countries with a less industrialised food production system, horses and other animals are slaughtered individually outdoors as needed, in the village where they will be consumed, or near to it[24].

In 2005, the eight principal horsemeat producing countries produced over 700,000 tonnes of this product.

Major Horsemeat Production Countries, 2005
Country Animals Production in Metric Tons
China 1,700,000 204,000
Mexico 626,000 78,876
Kazakhstan 340,000 55,100
Mongolia 310,000 38,000
Argentina 255,000 55,600
Italy 213,000 48,000
Brazil 162,000 21,200
Kyrgyzstan 150,000 25,000
4,727,829 720,168
Source: (PDF) THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF A BAN ON THE HUMANE SLAUGHTER (PROCESSING) OF HORSES IN THE UNITED STATES, The Animal Welfare Council, Inc., citing FAO-UN Horticultural Database, May 15, 2006, p. 10,, retrieved 2008-11-06 

As horses are relatively poor converters of grass and grain to meat compared to cattle[5], they are not usually bred or raised specifically for their meat. Instead, horses are slaughtered when their other value as riding or work animals is low, as for example in the routine export of the southern English ponies from the New Forest, Exmoor, and Dartmoor.[25].[26] British law requires the use of "equine passports" even for semi-wild horses to enable traceability (also known as "provenance"), so most slaughtering is done in the UK before the meat is exported[26], meaning that the animals travel "on the hook, not on the hoof" (as carcasses rather than live). Ex-racehorses, riding horses, and other horses sold at auction may also enter the food chain; sometimes these animals have been stolen or purchased under false pretenses.[27] Even famous horses may end up in the slaughterhouse; the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner and 1987 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year winner, Ferdinand, is believed to have been slaughtered in Japan, probably for pet food.[28]

The British newspaper The Daily Mail reports that every year, 100,000 live horses are transported into and around the European Union for human consumption, mainly to Italy but also to France and Belgium.[29]

Meat from horses that veterinarians have put down with a lethal injection is not consumed, as the toxin remains in the meat; the carcasses of such animals are cremated (all other means of disposal are problematic, due to the toxin).

Opposition to production

The killing of horses for human consumption is widely opposed in countries such as USA and Britain[30] where horses are generally considered to be companion and sporting animals only.[31] French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has spent years crusading against the eating of horse meat. However, the opposition is far from unanimous; a 2007 readers' poll in the London magazine Time Out showed that 82% of respondents supported celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's decision to serve horse meat in his restaurants[32] (see further discussion here).

Nutritional value

Selected nutrients per 100g (3.5 oz)[33]
Food source Calories Protein Fat Iron Sodium Cholesterol
Game meat, horse, raw 133 91.3g 41.5g 3.8 mg 53 mg 52 mg
Beef, rib, eye, small end (ribs 10-12), separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, raw [Delmonico, ribeye] 161 86g 74.9g 2.2 mg 63 mg 59 mg
Beef, rib, eye, small end (ribs 10-12), separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, raw [Delmonico, ribeye] 274 74.8g 199g 1.9 mg 56 mg 68 mg
Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, raw 244 81.9g 162g 1.7 mg 62 mg 66 mg
Beef, ground, 90% lean meat / 10% fat, raw [hamburger] 176 85.4g 90.2g 2.2 mg 66 mg 65 mg
Beef, ground, 80% lean meat / 20% fat, raw [hamburger] 254 73.3g 180g 1.9 mg 67 mg 71 mg


Smoked and salted horse meat on a sandwich.

Horse meat has a slightly sweet taste reminiscent of a combination of beef and venison. Meat from younger horses tends to be lighter in color while older horses produce richer color and flavor, as with most mammals. Horse meat can be used to replace beef, pork, mutton, venison and any other meat in virtually any recipe, although the cooking time is shorter than that of beef or pork. Horse meat is usually very lean and tender. Jurisdictions which allow for the slaughter of horses for food rarely have age restrictions, so many are quite old. However, unlike many other types of meat, horse meat becomes more tender as the animal advances in age.

Those preparing sandwiches or cold meals with horse meat usually use it smoked and salted. Horse meat forms an ingredient in several traditional recipes of salami.

Horse meat in various countries

In 2009, a British agriculture industry website reported the following horse meat production levels in various countries:

Horse meat production levels
as of 2009[34]
Country Tons per year
Mexico 78,000
Argentina 57,000
Kazakhstan 55,000
Mongolia 38,000
Kygyzstan 25,000
Australia 24,000
Brazil 21,000
Canada 18,000
Poland 18,000
Italy 16,000*
Romania 14,000
Chile 10,000
France 7,500
Uruguay 8,000
Senegal 9,500
Colombia 6,000
Spain 5,000*
* Including donkeys.



Australians don’t generally eat horse meat however they have a horse slaughter industry that exports to Japan and Europe. Horse meat exports peaked at 9,327 tons 1986, declining to 3,000 tons in 2003. The two abattoirs in Australia licensed to export horsemeat are Belgian-owned. They are at Peterborough in South Australia (Metro Velda Pty Ltd) and Caboolture abattoir in Queensland (Meramist Pty Ltd).[35] A British agriculture industry website reported that Australian horse meat production levels had risen to 24,000 tons by 2009.[36]


Horse meat is not available in most parts of China, although it is generally acceptable to Chinese. Its lack of popularity is mostly due to its low availability and some rumors saying that horse meat tastes bad or it is bad for health, even poisonous. In Compendium of Materia Medica, a pharmaceutical text published in 1596, Li Shizhen wrote "To relieve toxin caused by eating horse meat, one can drink carrot juice and eat almond." Today, in southwestern China, there are locally famous dishes such as Horse Meat Rice Vermicelli (马肉米粉) in Guilin. In the northwest, Kazakhs eat horse meat (see below).


In Indonesia, one type of satay (chunks of grilled meat served with spicy sauce) known as sate jaran is made from horse meat. This delicacy from Yogyakarta is served with sliced fresh shallot (small red onion), pepper, and sweet soy sauce.[citation needed]


Basashi from Kumamoto

In Japanese cuisine, raw horse meat is called sakura (桜) or sakuraniku (桜肉, sakura means cherry blossom, niku means meat) because of its pink color. It can be served raw as sashimi in thin slices dipped in soy sauce, often with ginger and onions added. In this case, it is called basashi (Japanese: 馬刺し). Basashi is popular in some regions of Japan and is often served at izakaya. Fat, typically from the neck, is also found as basashi, though it is white, not pink. Horse meat is also sometimes found on menus for yakiniku (a type of barbecue), where it is called baniku (馬肉, literally, "horse meat") or bagushi (馬串, "skewered horse"); thin slices of raw horse meat are sometimes served wrapped in a shiso leaf. Kumamoto, Nagano and Ōita are famous for basashi, and it is common in the Tohoku region as well. There is also a dessert made from horse meat called basashi ice cream.[37] The company that makes it is known for its unusual ice cream flavors, many of which have limited popularity.


Packaged Mongolian horse meat

Mongolia, a nation famous for its nomadic pastures and equestrian skills, also includes horse meat on the menu. Mongolians also make a horse milk wine, see kumis. Salted horse meat sausages called kazy are produced as a regional delicacy by the Kazakhs in Bayan-Ölgii aimag.[38] In modern times, Mongols prefer beef and mutton and horse meat is not so popular.[39]

Other Asian nations import processed horse meat from Mongolia.[40][41]



Fast food shop selling horse Leberkäse (Pferdeleberkäse) in Vienna

Horse Leberkäse is available and quite popular at various hot dog stands. Dumplings can also be prepared with horse meat, spinach or Tyrolean Graukäse (a sour milk cheese). They are occasionally eaten on their own, in a soup, or as a side-dish.


In Belgium, horse meat (paardenvlees in Dutch and viande chevaline in French) is highly prized. It is used in steak tartare, in which, compared to the beef equivalent, the richer flavor of the horse meat lends itself better to the pungent seasoning used in preparation[citation needed]. Besides being served raw, it can be broiled for a short period, producing a crusty exterior and a raw, moist interior. Smoked horse meat is very popular as breakfast and sandwich meat. Horse steaks are also very popular; the town of Vilvoorde has a few restaurants specializing in this dish. Horse-sausage is a well known local specialty in Lokeren with European recognition.

It is widely believed that traditional Belgian fried potatoes (pommes frites) were cooked in horse fat[citation needed], but in fact ox fat (suet) was used, although for health reasons this has been supplanted by nut oil (considered inferior by many).


In France, specialized butcher shops (boucheries chevalines) sell horse meat, as ordinary butcher shops have been for a long time forbidden to deal in it. However, since the 1990s, it can be found in supermarket butcher shops and others.


In Germany, horse meat is traditionally used in Sauerbraten, a strongly marinated type of sweet-sour braised meat dish. Other traditional horse meat dishes include the Bavarian Rosswurst (horse sausage). In recent times, the eating of horse meat has become a controversial issue and beef is nowadays often substituted for the horse meat in Sauerbraten. However, horse meat, sold by specialized Pferdemetzgereien (horse butcheries), is still used for steaks, roasts and goulash by many people in all parts of Germany, since it is supposed to be healthier than beef and pork while being cheaper than venison. Especially cat and dog breeders and owners value horse meat as a lean and healthy pet food.


In Hungary horse meat is only used in salami and sausages, usually mixed with pork. Although these products are sold in most supermarkets and many butcher shops they are not very popular, but for people who can get over the thought that they contain horse meat they are considered a delicacy.


In Iceland it is both eaten minced and as steak, also used in stews and fondue, prized for its strong flavor. It has a particular role in the culture and history of the island, as its consumption was one of the concessions won when the pagan Norse Icelanders eventually adopted Christianity in the year 1000.


Venetian horse meat butcher

Italian cuisine is highly regional. Horse meat is used in a stew called pastissada (typical of Verona), served as horse or colt steaks, as carpaccio, or made into bresaola. Horse fat is used in recipes such as pezzetti di cavallo. In the region of Veneto a dish is prepared which consists of shredded, cured horsemeat on a bed of arugula, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Also in Veneto, horsemeat sausages called salsiccia di equino or salami, and thin strips of horse meat called sfilacci are sold. The straight horsemeat steak carne di cavallo, similar to classic American Porterhouse steak, is generally available in the Alto Adige/Südtirol region of the Italian Alps. In Sardinia sa pezz'e cuadduis one of the most renowned meat and it's also sold in typical kiosks with bread panino con carne di cavallo. Chefs and consumers tend to prize its uniqueness by serving it as rare as possible. Donkey is also cooked, for example as a pasta sauce called stracotto d'asino. According to British food writer Matthew Fort, "The taste for donkey and horse goes back to the days when these animals were part of everyday agricultural life. In the frugal, unsentimental manner of agricultural communities, all the animals were looked on as a source of protein. Waste was not an option."[42]


In Kazakhstan horse meat is a large part of the diet, due mainly to the nomadic roots of the population.[43] Some of the dishes include sausages called kazy and shuzhuk made from the meat using the guts as the sausage skin, zhaya made from hip meat which is smoked and boiled, zhal made from neck fat which is smoked and boiled, karta made from a section of the rectum which is smoked and boiled, and sur-yet which is kept as dried meat.[44]


In Malta, stallion meat (Maltese: Laħam taż-żiemel) is commonly used in various dishes. It is usually fried or baked in a white wine sauce. A few horse meat shops still exist and a few restaurants serve it for locals and tourists.[45]


Horse meat from the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, smoked horse meat (paardenrookvlees) is sold as sliced meat and eaten on bread. There are also beef-based variants. Horse meat is also used in sausages (paardenworst), fried fast food snacks and ready-to-eat soups.[46][47]


In Norway horse meat is used in some sausages, such as Vossafår. In pre-Christian Norway, horse was seen as an expensive animal. To eat a horse was to show that you had great wealth, and to sacrifice a horse to the gods was seen as the greatest gift you could give. When Norwegians adopted Christianity, horse-eating became taboo as it was a religious act for pagans, and thus it was considered a sign of heresy.[citation needed].


Used in production of kabanos, recently declining in popularity. Live, old horses are often being exported to Italy to be slaughtered. This practice also garners controversy. Horses in Poland are treated mostly as companions and majority of society is against the live export to Italy. You can find some shelters for old and unwanted horses that are rescued from slaughter, The Tara Rescue and The Animals of Eulalia Faundation.


Horse meat is generally available in Slovenia. Colt steak (žrebičkov zrezek) is available in some restaurants and there is a popular fast-food restaurant in Ljubljana called Hot-Horse that serves hamburgers made of horse meat.[48][49]


Smoked/cured horse meat is widely available as a cold cut under the name hamburgerkött (hamburger meat). It tends to be very thinly sliced and fairly salty, slightly reminiscent of deli-style ham. Gustafskorv, a smoked sausage made from horse meat, is also quite popular, especially in the province of Dalarna, where it's made. It is similar to salami or medwurst and is used as an alternative to them on sandwiches. It is also possible to order horse beef from some well-stocked grocery stores.


In Switzerland horse meat may be used in Fondue Bourguignonne. Horse steak is also quite common, especially in the French-speaking West, but also more and more in the German-speaking part. A speciality known as mostbröckli is made with beef or horse meat. Horse meat is also used for a great range of sausages in the German-speaking North of Switzerland. Like in Northern Italy, in the Italian-speaking South, local "salametti" (sausages) are sometimes made with horse meat.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the slaughter, preparation and consumption of horses for food is not against the law, although in practice it has been out of fashion since the 1930s and there is a strong taboo against it. It was eaten when other meats were scarce, such as during times of war[50][51] (as was whale meat, never popular and now also taboo). The sale of horse meat in supermarkets and butchers is minimal, and most of the horse meat consumed in the UK is imported from Europe, predominantly the South of France, where it is more widely available.[52] Horse meat may be consumed inadvertently. A 2003 Food Standards Agency investigation revealed that salami and similar products such as chorizo and pastrami sometimes contain horse meat, without this ingredient being listed.[53] Listing is legally required.[54]


In Ukraine, especially in Crimea and other southern steppe regions, horse meat is consumed in the form of sausages called Mahan and Sudzhuk. These particular sausages are traditional food of the Crimean Tatar population.

North America


Agriculture in Quebec seems to prosper under the prohibitions from the United States. There is a thriving horse meat business in Quebec; the meat is available in most supermarket chains. Horse meat is also for sale at the other end of the country, in Granville Island Market in downtown Vancouver where, according to a Time magazine reviewer who smuggled it into the United States, it turned out to be a "sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, closer to beef than venison".[12] Horse meat is also available in high end Toronto butchers and supermarkets. Aside from the heritage of French cuisine at one end of the country and the adventurous foodies of Vancouver at the other, however, the majority of Canada shares the horse meat taboo with the rest of the Anglosphere. This mentality is especially evident in Alberta, where strong horse racing and breeding industries and cultures have existed since the province's founding.

United States

Horse meat is rarely eaten in the United States. Horses are raised instead as pets, for working purposes (border patrol, police work, and ranching), or for sport. Horse meat holds a very similar taboo in American culture, the same as the one found in the United Kingdom previously described, except in the fact that it is extremely uncommon to find it even in its imported form.

Restriction of human consumption of horse meat in the U.S. has generally involved legislation at the state and local levels. In 1915, for example, the New York City Board of Health amended the sanitary code, making it legal to sell horsemeat[55]. During World War II, due to the low supply and high price of beef, New Jersey legalized its sale, but at war's end, the state again prohibited the sale of horse meat.

In 1951, Time magazine reported from Portland, Ore.: “Horsemeat, hitherto eaten as a stunt or only as a last resort, was becoming an important item on Portland tables. Now there were three times as many horse butchers, selling three times as much meat.” Noting that “people who used to pretend it was for the dog now came right out and said it was going on the table,” and providing tips for cooking pot roast of horse and equine fillets. A similar situation unfolded in 1973, when inflation raised the cost of traditional meats. Time reported that “Carlson’s, a butcher shop in Westbrook, Conn., that recently converted to horsemeat exclusively, now sells about 6,000 pounds of the stuff a day.” The shop produced a 28-page guide called “Carlson’s Horsemeat Cook Book,” with recipes for chili con carne, German meatballs, beery horsemeat, and more.[56]

Harvard University's Faculty Club had horse meat on the menu for over one hundred years, until 1985.[57][58]

Until 2007, a few horse meat slaughterhouses still existed in the United States, selling meat to zoos to feed their carnivores, and exporting it for human consumption, but the last one was closed by court order in 2007.[59][60] The closure reportedly caused a surplus of horses in Illinois.[61]


Mexico is the second largest producer of horse meat in the world. It is used there both by human consumption and animal food.

South America


In Chile it is used in charqui. Both in Chile and Argentina horse meat was the main source of nutrition for the nomadic indigenous tribes of the pampas, which promptly switched from a guanaco -based economy to a horse-based one when the horses brought by the Spaniards bred naturally and became feral. This applies specially for the Pampa and Mapuche nations, who become fierce warriors on horseback. Pretty much like the Tatars, they ate raw horsemeat and milked their animals.

See also


  1. ^ Melinda A. Zeder (2006), Documenting Domestication, University of California Pres, pp. 257, 258, 265, ISBN 0520246381, 
  2. ^ David W. Anthony (2008), The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, Princeton University Press, pp. 199, 220, ISBN 0691058873, 
  3. ^ Viande Richelieu page title: Clarifying the notion of horsemeat covers Nutrients, Age, The sex of the animal, Race, Color, Tenderness, Taste, and Meat cuts.
  4. ^ Fernando Terrejón G. (2001), Exotic Livestock production and the Transition, "Geohistorical Variables in the Evolution of the Pehuenche Economic System During the Colonial Period" (in Spanish), Universum Magazine (University of Talca) 16: 226,  (Spanish title: El Ganado Exótico Y la Transición Prodictiva , Variables Geohistóricas en la Evolución del Sistema Económicl Pehuenche Durante el periodo Colonio).
  5. ^ a b c Harris, Marvin (1998), Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture, Waveland Pr Inc, ISBN 1577660153, .
  6. ^ Larrey is quoted in French by Dr Béraud, Études Hygiéniques de la chair de cheval comme aliment, Musée des Familles (1841-42).
  7. ^ Larrey mentions in his memoirs how he fed the wounded after the (1809) with bouillon of horse meat seasoned with gunpowder. Parker, Harold T. (1983 reprint) Three Napoleonic Battles. (2nd Ed). Duke University Press. ISBN 0-82230547-X. Page 83 (in Google Books). Quoting Dominique-Jean Larrey, Mémoires de chirurgie militaire et campagnes, III 281, Paris, Smith.
  8. ^ Kari Weil, "They Eat Horses, Don't They? Hippophagy and Frenchness", Gastronomica Spring 2007, Vol. 7, No. 2, Pages 44-51 Posted online on May 22, 2007. (doi:10.1525/gfc.2007.7.2.44)
  9. ^ Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa by Matthew Fort. 2005, p253. ISBN 0-00-721481-2
  10. ^ Charles Grutzner, Horse Meat Consumption By New Yorkers Is Rising; Newark Dealer Reports 60% of Customers Are From City--Weinstein Will Not Prohibit Sale of the Flesh Here 25 Sept 1946
  11. ^ James E. Powers, NEAR-BY HOSPITALS DOWN TO MINIMUM OF MEAT SUPPLIES, The New York Times, 29 September 1946
  12. ^ a b "Horse — It's What's for Dinner" by Joel Stein, Time magazine, 8 February 2007.
  13. ^ 2008 - It is Time to Tell the Truth ...about Horse Slaughter,,, retrieved 2008-05-20  (See the list headed "Horsemeat—By Any Other Name")
  14. ^ Simoons, F.J., 1994, Eat not this Flesh, Food Avoidances from Pre-history to Present, University of Wisconsin Press.
  15. ^ Françoise Aubaile-Sallenave, "Meat among Mediterranean Muslims: Beliefs and Praxis", Estudios del Hombre 19:129 (2004)
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