John Vlismas
John Vlismas

You eat lamb, duck and chicken. So why not horse?

It was a great piece of television. These don’t occur often. Generally, we adopt a lazy posture and zombify in groups while ill-qualified thieves called executive producers steal our IQs, point by point.

This was different. The item pressed my button, and asked me down a rabbit hole.

There was a woman with a long face and big teeth. I am programmed to immediately distrust people like this on TV — she is not a youthful vampire or lip-synching pop star — she is like an organic vegetable, real, warts and all, nutritious and without radiation … and so, TV-unbelievable.

Against my congenital judgement — I gave her the benefit of the doubt (a benefit I have never understood, by the way). The lady was jovial and bright; with shiny eyes she told the camera she was going to eat some horse.

“Some horse?” I sense you splutter as the sequence of words settles into your temporal lobes …

Yes, you read me: eat some horse. Take Black Beauty’s cousin off on a flat-bed truck to a quiet spot, slit its throat and butcher it into manageable portions — then cook and eat it for lunch.

Not to worry, though, this was on a farm where they breed them specially for this purpose — she wasn’t going to abduct a children’s party attraction.

The revulsion and protestation rising within you is so strong, I can feel it from where I’m sitting. You have every right to feel whatever you want, but the weight of your opinion in this case rests on a simple question: do you eat meat, dear reader?

If you do eat other animals, then I suggest you take your outrage and your self-righteousness and you saddle it up and ride it from here on, you shan’t be riding horses today. It would be inappropriate to ride a menu item to the moral high ground.

If you eat pork or lamb or duck or chicken, beef or rabbit, veal or any other critter with a face — then why not Trigger and his friends? What are your criteria, dear apex predator, for who is lunch and who is your best friend? “Dog-eat-dog” is a man-made phrase.

A philosophy that certain species deserve to be raised in appalling conditions and cruelly slaughtered, and that others deserve a lifetime of paddocks and pats, brushing and stroking is a form of zoological Nazism, isn’t it? Oh dear, now you’re upset … well, then you’re going to hate the next bit …

The church of Satan’s creed espouses the idea of relentless meritocracy — so I guess if you eat one animal because you feel qualified to decide that it is inferior and celebrate another as being a better example of biology, on some level, your behaviour could be seen as ideologically Satanic.

Wow, the look on your face. Don’t worry, folks, I don’t worship the devil — I don’t even believe in him. As long as humanity has mirrors, the devil is obsolete. We’ve achieved evil 2.0 all on or own. But I do read without discrimination, as it has been known to lead to thinking.

Back to those delicious jee jees. What makes a pony more sacred than a lamb? Is a horse suddenly more intelligent than a pig? If you’re prepared to tear a calf’s liver apart with your teeth, how do you find the nerve to protest at the culinary terminus of our equine pals?

And if horses were so fucking smart, would they really put up with a steel bit stuck in their mouths, their necks stiffened artificially, and a tight belt around their middle for long periods of time with an idiot on their backs, forcing them to obey constant and idiotic commands? Goodness, sounds like the poor, and we certainly have no compunction consuming them the world over …

Horses have lean flesh, and a high Omega 3 oil content, an excellent form of protein — why would you not want to feed that sort of nutrition to your children; instead of some hormone induced nightmare we once knew as chicken? I’ll tell you why, because we are hypocrites.

It’s that simple — we have different values and standards for different situations, while we are very impressed by our good side, we struggle to face our barbarism, and we turn away whenever it becomes too much. We live in a beautiful balloon made of plastic and filled with something less dense than oxygen — another gas that mimics real life imperfectly — the devil’s happy gas, perhaps. Who would have thought that the zenith of evolution would involve a fiddle?

I began by hating this woman’s bright and horrific idea — and I became her fan by the end.

I couldn’t help but wish I’d written the slogan on her T-shirt:

“I Could Eat A Horse.”