Do People Eat Horses? (What Do They Taste Like?)

There are some animals that are considered to be a beast of burden. Horses are one such class of animals that have had a very close relationship with men. They have helped humans in wars, battles and for transporting people and material over long distances and also have been used for gambling and other purposes.

However, many of us may be a bit surprised when we come across the question – do people eat horses. 

Yes, people do eat horses all over the world, and there are many instances to prove that horse meat has been regularly eaten by a section of people. While some countries like the USA are not known to eat horse meat, there are some countries where horse meat is considered to be a delicacy. 

Many EU nations also do not have horse meat-eating habits. However, there are some countries like Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Indonesia, China, and Poland where horse meat-eating is not considered a big deal. Many people are comfortable eating horses even without a blink of their eyes. Hence, it would be interesting to know more about the various aspects pertaining to horse eating across many countries of the world

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A look at the history of horse meat eating 

It would be interesting to have a closer look at the horse meat-eating habits from a historical perspective. If we look at the pet food industry horse meat was an important ingredient as early as 1920. It is also believed that it continued to be a part of the pet food industry till the 1940s.

In fact, according to some big food companies like Nestle, slaughterhouses were opened to horses because they needed a way to dispose of old and unfit horses. However, the same company now says that most pet food companies are not too happy talking about horse meat because it may discourage people from buying such pet products. 

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Horses in pet food
Horses in pet food

Though the USA by and large is not in favor of eating horse meat, there are some interesting statistics. In fact, if you look at some slaughterhouses as recent as 2006, it was found that horse slaughtering for food was taking place. In 2006 alone, it is believed that around 100,000 horses were slaughtered mainly for food. However, almost the entire quantity of horse meat was exported as food to Asia and Europe. This was done to prevent heavy fines from being imposed by the federal and state agencies when it came to horse meat inspection. 

Slaughter of horses for food happens even now 

Though there is a big protest from animal rights activists, the sad part is that live horses are still shipped in large numbers to Mexico and Canada, where they are slaughtered mainly for meat. A significant portion of the horse meat is used in these countries as meat. 

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Why horse meat-eating has not spread 

Though there could be some food value and other such positive takeaways for a few who love eating horse meat, the supply still does not match the demand. There are some obvious reasons for this. Horses when they are in their prime are not sent for slaughtering because they have a lot of commercial value and are used for many purposes.

As they grow old, it is a fact that they are not of much use. However, those who relish horse meat believe that old horses do not make good food items because of taste and other reasons. 

Old horses often have the same destiny
Old horses often have the same destiny

What does horse meat taste like?

Those who are in favor of horse meat have a few positive things to say about horse meat. They believe that it is almost as good, tasty, and nutritious as beef and further there are not any big significant health risks consuming horse meat when compared to beef.

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There are many who in fact believe that horse meat is redder, sweeter, and softer when compared to beef. But on the whole, apart from color and texture, it may not be too easy to identify the main differences between horse meat and beef. In many European nations, horse meat is made into sausages and also is cooked as steak. 

However, on the other side of the spectrum, there is an unexplained morality that perhaps prevents a majority of Americans and Europeans from eating horse meat. 

Horse sausage
Horse sausage

Final word 

Though horse meat might sound ridiculous and also seem nauseating for many, there are many people who continue to slaughter horses mainly for the purpose of food while opinion for and against such slaughter continues to rage.