How about drink mare’s milk?
I recently returned from the eighth Weston A Price Tour of Switzerland led by chapter leader and Swiss native Judith Mudrak.
On July 20, 2014, we visited a Demter farm called Shlulp Wala. According to Wikipedia, Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers. Its name is a reference to Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and fertility. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing. The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods.
The farm offers cow and horse meat, mare’s milk, and some sheep and chickens, fruit and berries, and a rich vegetable garden complement their production. The horses live in herds on large pastures in the Tösstal hills and outdoor playpen. In summer and fall they look for the best grasses and herbs in the nature reserve of Schnäggewalds.
See more photos from our outing to the farm in this album.
They were out of the raw mare’s milk they sell so we didn’t get to taste it but, we did eat horse meat, which I’ll discuss in a moment. Mare’s milk is indicated for gastrointestinal disorders, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and used for premature babies. Mare’s milk is similar to that of breast milk rich in long-chain, multiple unsaturated fatty acids (2 or more double bonds in the molecule, for example. linoleic and B. Linolenic acid assert Jahreis among others in 1998, Doreau and Boulot 1989 Zeyner among others 1996). About 55% of all fatty acids of mare milk fat are unsaturated fatty acids. Apparently, fresh mare’s milk has a pleasant, refreshing, almond-like taste.
I ate it for the first time! I didn’t hestiate and thought it was delicious.
It was served to us in a stew, as well as as sliced cured meat.
Horse meat consumption has been growing rapidly for the last several years in France, and is common in several other cultures including Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. In Japan, you can even get horse sushi. The consumption of horse meat has been common in Central Asia societies, past or present. In Islamic laws, consuming horse meat is discouraged, although it is not forbidden. Horse meat is forbidden however by Jewish dietary laws because horses do not have cloven hooves and they are not ruminants. While horse meat can’t legally be sold in the United States for human consumption, it appears that it can still be used in pet food.
As horses are relatively poor converters of grass and grain to meat compared to cattle, they are not usually bred or raised specifically for their meat. Instead, horses are slaughtered when their monetary value as riding or work animals is low, but their owners can still make money selling them for horse meat. I was saddened to learn that due to the fact that horse slaughterhouses still aren’t legal in the United States, they are shipped in fairly inhospitable conditions to be slaughtered out of the country.
The following is quoted from the article How Nutritious is Horse Meat?
According to NutritionData, a strip steak has slightly fewer calories than horse (117 vs 133 calories per 100 grams), though this is obviously not be true for all cuts of beef. Sirloin, for example, contains 142 calories. The meats also have very similar amounts of fat, cholesterol and protein when lean cuts are compared.
Where the meats really differ is iron concentration, with horse meat having double the iron (21% vs 10% DV) that beef contains. It is not surprising that a more athletic animal has more iron, but the magnitude of the difference is striking. Horse meat also contains substantially more vitamin B12 (50% vs 21% DV), but less B6, niacin and folate.
But what’s truly impressive is the omega-3 fatty acid concentration in horse meat, which contains 360 mg (per 100 grams) compared to just 21 mg in strip steak. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that need to be obtained from your diet. They are thought to be helpful in fighting against heart disease, stroke and neurodegeneration.
Compared to lean beef, horse meat appears to have some nutritional advantages.
Wikipedia reports that French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has spent years crusading against the eating of horse meat. However, the opposition is far from unanimous; a 2007 readers’ poll in the London magazine Time Out showed that 82% of respondents supported chef Gordon Ramsay’s decision to serve horse meat in his restaurants. What is your opinion?
5 Responses to Would you eat horse meat?
Never had mare’s milk, but ate horse a few times when I lived in Russia. 😉
I grew up on horse meat in Switzerland, as my mom could not afford the more expensive beef. She made a wonderful horse meat loaf.
Very interesting indeed! I think I would be willing to try horse meat if I knew where it came from, but I’m not sure I feel so optimistic about the mare’s milk. I have mixed feelings though, when reading all of this information as I’ve loved horses my whole life and ridden them a great deal, and so eating them makes me feel a bit conflicted! Although I know that rationally it’s no different than raising a steer or bull from birth and then slaughtering it for meat when it’s time.
I also had horse meat for the first time, and it was absolutely delectable. Very best dried meat I have ever had. I so appreciated the horse farmers gentle nature and love for his horses.
I would not personally consume horse meat. My reasoning is hypocritical, because I consider horses companion animals, like dogs and cats. However, I have had pet cattle and considered them part of the family (they were bulls even!), but I still eat beef. Same with chickens.
I guess it is because we raise a special (and at one point nearly extinct) breed of horse and rather have them be glorified lawn mowers in their old age than slaughtered. But we are privileged to have the ability to do so, as my family’s business makes more than enough money to cover our hobby of horse breeding.
My biggest concern, at least in the USA (where there are a few legalized slaughterhouses), is that the slaughter of horses basically use the same techniques as they do cattle to put them down before processing. However, because of the anatomical differences, these techniques are inefficient and can cause excess pain and stress for the horse.
I do like Temple Gradin’s idea that animals raised for consumption should have a measure of respect given to them, since they are supporting our welfare and health, by making the transition from pasture to plate as stress-free and calm as possible.