Where’s Mr. Ed When We Need Him?

My only encounter with horsemeat was innocent enough.  I had no idea it was coming with the meal, but I ate it.  Our family was traveling in rural regions of Nagano Prefecture in Japan, and we stayed at a Ryokan–traditional guesthouses that usually provide expertly prepared local fare for the evening dinner.  As the meal progressed, the kimono-clad waitress placed various dishes in front of us, and one contained a paper thin slice of red meat, cooked on the edges but basically rare, soaked with a soya-based sauce. 
During our many years in Japan, we ate plenty of food we hadn’t completely identified, so by the time a friend at the table told us what it was, I’d finished half of the small portion. I ate the rest. I’d probably do the same again in such circumstances, but I wouldn’t order horse meat in my Iowa home region. It wouldn’t be an option, and I just don’t have any desire to eat horse. But some people do.
Midwest gal diggin’ into
the glazed grasshoppers
With the change in government policy, it certainly seems that the U.S. will have horse slaughterhouses and will export meat. It’s also certain that many have passionate views about the legal move, but I think one concern should be paramount: The welfare of horses. Is it better to allow slaughter in the U.S. because the ban actually made conditions worse? Not all would agree, but a December 2 blog entry from Brandi Buzzard explains why a horse lover might support the lifting of the ban.  Check out the many other opinions on the Net about this issue if you want.  I’m sure you’ll find views from all ends of the spectrum—except from the horse’s mouth. Where’s Mr. Ed when we need him?
Buzzard’s December 5 entry is more about freedom of choice when it comes to menu items. As she says, income, religion, morals, and taste all enter into the decisions. Once again, not all would agree, but I do understand her point.  In Bali, a boy showed us a large fruit bat in a cage that would soon be on the dinner table. I didn’t eat bat, but we tried frog legs there. In Beijing, we ate at a restaurant that boasted various donkey dishes. I couldn’t get the image of Eeyore out of my mind, so we passed. But in Japan, we did use chopsticks to try the stir-fried, glazed grasshoppers that the locals offered. Crunchy on the outside; chewy on the inside. I haven’t ordered them since. by Dan Gogerty

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