Horses and donkeys have been farmed for centuries in France and other European countries for their meat. Whilst to many this is something that is culturally unacceptable there are many parallels that can be drawn globally, from guinea pigs and dogs to pigs. Indeed, there are some strong arguments in favour of farming equines for meat – without such markets, breed such at the Percheron, Breton and Comtois would be following the UK’s Suffolk Punch and Shires as they head towards extinction. Without the need for these breeds to work the fields there are few incentives to keep the breeds alive.
At ERF, we understand the delicacy of passing judgment on traditional practices and therefore we do not support campaigns to stop the consumption of horse meat. Instead we focus on ensuring that the realities of the horse meat trade are publicised and let consumers draw their own conclusions. Year on year, the horse meat market continues to decline and campaigning to stop people eating horse meat may well reverse this trend.