Last week in Las Vegas, the First Summit of the Horse featured presentations from speakers who advocated a return to using horsemeat as a source of nutrition in the human diet.

In 2007, responding to pressure from animal rights groups, Congress ended the consumption of horsemeat by U.S. citizens. Now, some are arguing that if the slaughter is done humanely, it’s wasteful not to use these animals – especially the wild ones, like mustangs, that have to be culled — as people food.

On a recent trip to Zurich, I spotted horsemeat on a menu. I had to order it. I’d never had it before. I’ll try anything once.

So I ate the horsemeat in gravy with spaetzle, and I have to admit, the spaetzle was the best part of that dish, with the gravy coming in second. The horsemeat was tough and not as flavorful as regular stew meat, but I’m willing to grant that this could have been the fault of the kitchen and not the meat.

Americans feel weird about eating some animals that are considered quite acceptable sources of nutrition in other parts of the world. Not many Americans would feel comfortable eating dog, rabbit or, of course, horse. I attribtue this aversion to childhood memories of Lassie, Thumper and Flicka.

Is that hypocritical?

After all, cows have beautiful eyes and pigs are very intelligent, so if we’re going to base dietary decisions on how lovable a creature is, or how smart it is, we might all have to become vegetarians.

How about you. Would you eat horsemeat?

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...

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