Horsemeat: it’s what’s for dinner if you live in Europe at the moment. This means that for the most part it’s “out of sight, out of mind” for most Americans, or the butt of dog food and glue factory jokes, but then something happened the other day that raised my hackles.
So, yes, there’s ready-made meals “tainted with horse DNA” over in several European countries, and most have just been throwing them away. However, one government minister from Germany took issue with wasting what is, after all, perfectly good food, regardless of whatever cultural hangups you might have about eating horseburgers, and he actually went as far as to say that the tainted food should be distributed to poor families in Germany. At first I thought, “holy shit, this is awesome, he’s pulling some Swiftian social satire,” but then I realized that no, he’s serious.
He’s so serious that he actually scarfed down some horse lasagna in public, proclaiming that “wow, it tastes great,” like some bizarre Drink-Your-Ovaltine commercial from the 1950s. I can only imagine that he had a giant spit bucket under his table, out of sight of the media. I have to give him some credit for actually showing that the Pony Express Pasta tastes all right – I mean let’s be honest, we probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with a little Mr. Ed mixed in with our Double Quarter Pounders – but why is it that this government minister wants the poor people to be eating the tainted meat? Sure, I get it – waste not want not, beggars can’t be choosers – but I’d bet you anything that there’s no way anyone would suggest the rich should eat horsemeat and donate the food in their fridges and cupboards to the poor.
The sheer absurdity of such a plan is one thing, but what really bothers me is the absolute lack of compassion and empathy. As if poor people should be okay with eating horse because they’re poor. It’s offensive in the extreme and smacks of elitism – and shows how absolutely out of touch with reality government officials are. Let’s break it down: if you don’t want to put something into your body that you feel that is, from a cultural standpoint, vile, it shouldn’t matter how poor you are or not. Unless you’re homeless (or a raccoon), you’re not going to be eating out of Dumpsters and trash cans – and besides, thanks to soup kitchens you can get actual real food even if you are homeless. In fact if you wouldn’t feed something to the homeless, you sure as shit better not advocate it to be given to the poor just because you have some bizarre Prussian aversion to throwing away “perfectly good” food.
For fuck’s sake, sell it to the Canadians. They’ll eat anything.