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Tesco and its horse meat burgers – what’s the fuss?

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- Tom Winnifrith

And so it emerges that cheap Tesco burgers contain horsemeat (up to 29% in some cases), the company grovels and withdraws the product line and everyone is horrified. What is the fuss? It is not as if the hundreds of thousands of customers who have already munched their way through grilled Shergar have actually noticed or complained.

The highly processed junk food that most Britons buy in supermarkets bears so little relation in taste to what it is meant to be thanks to the addition of vast amounts of chemicals, flavourings and preservatives that you could probably serve up dog, cat, horse, or fox as part of the end product and no-one would be any the wiser. By the time folks have added vast amounts of equally artificial sauces you could probably chuck in a bit of cardboard as well and it would make no difference. I am almost surprised at the idea that a cheap burger priced for chavs in a supermarket contains any beef at all. I had assumed it was all off cuts, innards and chemicals and frankly it makes no odds what animal they come from.

Horse meat tastes fine as a dish. It is not that different from beef. In the same way that guinea pig meat tastes, when prepared normally, pretty much like chicken but just a bit better. But most of our fellow citizens have not actually ever seen an animal killed for food. And so they have a vague notion that somewhere along the line cows or sheep are bumped off and end up in Tesco’s and this is okay but the idea of eating my sweet little pony, a fluffy guinea pig or what the RSPCA terms one of Britain’s favourite mammals, cute little foxy woxy, is seen as a sort of crime against society.

Britain’s urban mass consumers of junk food want a cheap product that tastes like “meat” – had the company branded its product “meat burgers” no-one would have noticed and it could have carried on flogging the line for years with the customers gorging happily and not having to associate eating meat with the idea of killing animals. If folks want something that tastes really good they need to venture along the food chain and a bit closer to the abattoir’s knife and accept that what they were eating was not that long ago a living breathing creature.

The more I think about it the more I have a desire to eat guinea pig once again. Perhaps I could buy some Tesco chicken nuggets and just hope that I get lucky or maybe a visit to the pet shop is in order. I imagine that the RSPCA would try to prosecute me but it really is a very tasty dish indeed.

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