The Four Horsemeats of the Apocalypse


You may have heard about the horsemeat scandal in the UK and to a lesser extent in Ireland a little over a year ago. It was actually picked up in Ireland because their scrutiny of meat is more substantive.

It was a jolly scare where it transpired that the great british public (that’s a phrase over here) had been unknowingly consuming the meat of the horse for some time. The real scandal is the ‘unknowlingly’ bit. The british have eaten some horse in the past but generally don’t. It’s just not done here. We do kill and slaughter horses and sell into the european horse meat trade which is a huge industry. But until recently our supermarkets (for that is where the problem arose) could proudly claim to be horse free.

While over in Europe (the british, though certainly part of the european union, often refer to everyone else in Europe as european, as if they themselves were not) horse meat is eaten at a galloping pace (1). That’s right – the horse puns have started and they’re off (no. 2). I myself have tasted of the running beast many times – knowingly – while in Europe. It tasted rather nice. I have had it from the smoked meats section of the supermarche and sometimes it comes with a sticker with an image of a horse on it. Delightful. The upfrontness of it all. That’s as it should be. You want horse? – we got it – it’s over there in aisle 3 – it’s the one marked horse. By the way the beef is the one marked beef. Only european vegans object to any of this.

So we had a bit of scandal here and public confidence in the meat industry has been dealt a blow. Apparently meat consumption of all kinds is down. I wonder what people are substituting their meat needs with. Not more celery – pleeease no. However every cloud has a silver lining and I think the some of the advertising (parodies of course) and images posted on the internet as a consequence were exceptionally witty and welcome. Here’s a sample.

A tribute to our No. 1 supermarket and prime culprit

so hungry

A household brand specialising in ready to cook, highly processed food products

Findus - pronounced  'fin- dus' was a major user of the equine delight

Findus – pronounced ‘fin- dus’ was a major user of the equine delight

The artists had a field day – this is a Banksy inspired piece.


And my personal favourite – I hate those self service checkouts – always a problem – always need to call the staff – this would probably be the worst thing that could happen.


The high street butcher sees an opportunity to stick to the supermarket giants who threaten his livelihood on any given day of the week.

butcher has no horse

I love lasagne but will probably only trust homemade for the next few years. Shergar (top right of the Findus box) was a world famous race horse which was stolen by masked gunmen in Ireland in 1983. Many were questioned at the time. No one even thought to question the supermarkets. If only they knew then what we know now.

Findus horse lasagne