Being an inveterate thief, Aggie saw the introduction of supermarkets as an absolute godsend. In those days the term shoplifter didn't exist, anyone who stole from shops was described as, and treated as, what they were, common thieves. Aggie was a kind of Fagin like character, and she would take me and David the other foster boy into shops to see what we could pinch. Having been brought up as institutionalised God fearing kids neither David or me enjoyed doing this, but if we didn't obey her rules, she would make our miserable lives even worse. Beatings and starvation were her main punishments. She had one hell of a temper.
Oops! Here I go again, getting sidetracked by memories. This article is supposed to be about supermarkets adding horse meat to beefburgers. It has caused outrage here in England. Putting aside the fact that people are paying for beef but are being sold horse, the main crux of the matter seems to be that we love horses and therefore should not eat them. I suppose it is this love we have for animals that also makes it abhorrent for us to eat dogs or cats. Yet all these creatures are readily slaughtered and consumed in other countries.
Personally I would not knowingly eat horse or dog or cat. I am not a vegetarian, but these are all animals I have kept as pets. The thought of eating them makes me feel physically sick.
And yet the carnivorous among us positively salivate when we think about eating roast lamb or piglet. Both of which animals we can also ooh and aah about when we see them in their live state. It just doesn't make sense if you really give it some thought. Why is it all right to slaughter for food cows and calves in their millions, yet to do the same thing with horses is unacceptable? If we are to take this argument to it's logical conclusion, it must surely be that it is wrong to eat any animal? Should we all be vegetarian?
I don't wish to be vegetarian. I like eating meat. Whilst accepting that it is perfectly possible to be healthy eating a completely meat free diet I believe we humans are designed to be carnivorous. Having just said that, I am now thinking of the effect eating meat has on our bodies. The damage that animal fat can do to our arteries is now well researched and proven, and the rising numbers of bowel cancers are thought to be because of our increased consumption of red meat in these times, of relative prosperity.
Aggie would take us to Brick Lane market in East London. There would be great piles of meat on the butcher's stalls, and it would be sold simply as meat. You paid your money and you got your meat. What meat it was didn't seem to concern anyone, and I know for certain that there was horse meat among it. What did it matter? It was only going into a stew or a meat pie?
Eating horse meat won't do you any more harm than eating cow meat. Strange though don't you think that we call cow meat beef, and yet we still call horse meat exactly what it is?
So here I am at the end of this article. I was going to say still sitting on the fence regarding the subject, but that wouldn't be strictly true. I try to make a difference by making sure that any meat I eat comes from sources where the animals welfare is taken seriously. Where the animal is allowed to live as naturally a life as it can right up until the moment it meets it's end. Isn't that noble of me? Compassioninworldfarming.com
Could I do it? Could I become a vegetarian? I'm considering it now, having given the subject all this thought. I will get back to you on that.
Of course we can never be certain if the meat we are eating is what the supplier says it is. Recent events have brought that home to us. So there is horse meat in the beefburger. That should be the least of your worries. It is what else is in it, what other unknowns. That is what you ought to be really concerned about. That and the power of the supermarket chains.