Horse meat has gone on the menu in Western Australia as a gourmet food, with a butcher urging meat lovers to end their aversion to dining on it.
Vince Gareffa of Mondi Di Carne gourmet butchers is believed to be the first butcher to begin selling horse meat for human consumption in Australia.
After being granted a licence by the WA Minister for Agriculture and Food Terry Redman, Mr Gareffa opened his Perth shop on Tuesday with fresh horse meat for sale.
Although he said “mentally I find it quite a hurdle”, the butcher urged Australians to open their minds, declaring the product is no different from the meat of other animals slaughtered for consumption.
“We’ve got so many horses running in the wild, and we kill camels, we kill kangaroos, we kill emus,” Mr Gareffa told AAP.
“There’s no way in the world it’s any different. It just does happens to be more emotional. (As pet) dogs become an emotional thing, horses are an emotional thing.
“But the cows, the sheep, the pigs, the chickens are sick of it. They’re sick of the racism against certain breeds of animal.”
In approving the slaughter of horses for human consumption in Australia, Mr Redman attached strict conditions including the presence of a WA Meat Industry Authority inspector during processing.
According to the federal department of agriculture, between 30,000 and 40,000 horses are slaughtered every year for pet food and human consumption overseas. A reportedly 7 out of 10 horses butchered for their meat in Australia are racehorses.
In a letter by animal advocate Chantal Buslot of Belgium, she states:
Does Australia need to add horses to our plate? There is already a long list of animals that are exploited for their meat, and to add horses to this list for Australian consumption is immoral.
One of the major suppliers of horses for human consumption is the racing industry which breeds approx 30,000 horses each year. Approx 70% of these horses are simply not “good enough” and will be discarded without running a single race.
If Western Australia is to please minority groups; those Europeans who have a taste for horse flesh, will WA take the next step and cater for Asian cultures? Will the WA Government permit the slaughter of cats and dogs for their flesh? What is the difference between eating one pet and eating another? Horses are of course pets to many Australians.
Furthermore, you are all well aware of the toxicity of horse meat, poisoned with phenylbutazone, a banned substance in accordance with the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act as described via other country parameters. Tainting the food supply with such toxins is not only negligent, but it is also immoral. It is also important to recognize that European markets are increasingly rejecting horse meat from Western countries where horses are routinely treated with such prohibited substances, and Australia will be a known target of such disapproval as well.
Contact the Australian government with your opposition at the email addresses below.
- wa-government@ dpc.wa.gov.au
- Minister.Castrilli@ dpc.wa.gov.au
- eric.ripper@ mp.wa.gov.au