It seems like a strange thing to say, but I believe this current horse-meat scandal that has gripped Britain for the last few months could well be a blessing in a very good disguise! For those who haven't yet heard about this, the news first broke in January of this year that many processed meat products that were allegedly “beef” were in fact horse-meat! It first came to light when the supermarket Tesco did random tests on some of their "beef" burgers, and they were found to contain horse, not cow. Then a company called Findus, who make ready-meals came under fire, because their meals (lasagnas, etc.) were tested too, and found to contain “up to 100%” horse-meat.
The scale of the contamination has been spreading day by day, with more and more products and companies being implicated. And it seems it is not just horses that people have been unwittingly eating. It is now suspected that even donkey, do,g and rat meat have been used in a lot of these products, as this recent news report shows.
These recent revelations have really just shown the true nature of how meat is sourced as cheaply as possible, with corruption and contamination issues being seemingly only the tip of the iceberg. This is what the demand for cheap meat has led to. There are all too many unscrupulous practitioners today who can buy horse or donkey-meat (for example), much more cheaply, and pass it off as beef. Who is going to know the difference? No one did, until random DNA tests were done on certain “beef” products.
I can’t say I am exactly surprised, that anyone who works in the meat industry does not follow usual business ethics! It is really no more than you would expect from people who callously treat other living and sentient creatures as mere disposable commodities. If they don’t care about the lives or the feelings of the animals, why would they care about the sensibilities of the consumers who buy their products?
It is quite curious though, that most people (here in Britain at any rate) will happily eat cow or pig, for example, but are horrified at the idea of eating a horse! Why should that be? I presume it is just cultural conditioning, the idea that it is okay to eat certain animals, but not others. It is not just that aspect though, that has sickened the public. It is also the fraud and deceptive practices that are some of the most shocking aspects. People really do expect to be able to make an informed choice about what they are eating and not be cheated like this.
Naturally, in light of this information, it is a great relief to me that I have not eaten meat in about twenty years. It is also clear that if you are a carnivore, you really don’t know what you are eating these days! A friend of mine commented that some processed meats could contain parts of murdered humans, for all we know, and that it would be the perfect murder! (I often wonder if that will be the next scandal to hit the news headlines!) If one good thing has come out of all this though, it is that by all accounts sales of vegetarian products, e.g. meat substitutes, have sky-rocketed here in the UK over the last couple of months.
The health food chain Holland and Barrett, for example have reported a 48% increase in sales of meat alternatives in the last quarter, and the UK Vegetarian Society has received a record number of new requests for information. Quorn, the company which makes all sorts of vegetarian products, has even reported having to take on more staff due to the increase in demand for their foods, so this is having a beneficial (knock-on wood) effect on the job market as well! Supermarkets as well such as Asda have reported seeing a large increase in sales in their vegetarian products as well.
This new trend is a measure of how this fraud has sent shockwaves through the British public. Beef prices are apparently set to increase even more in the future, so with a bit of luck, this nouveau-vegetarian phase will go from strength to strength! This is what I meant about the scandal being a blessing in a very good disguise. These completely unprincipled meat-cheaters have really done animals and the vegetarians a favour, if they are putting so many people off meat!
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Your votes and comments are always appreciated.
Picture courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)