Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
Why We Don’t (Intentionally) Eat Horses
Feb 26, 2013
Why we don’t (intentionally) eat horses
You can get a few free New York Times stories each month, and I advise you use one of your chits on this delightful read about Britain’s horsemeat scandal from Alan Cowell.
Mr. Cowell seems a bit bemused at the degree of umbrage taken in that country about news that some ground beef contains horsemeat, compared to the blithe attitude elsewhere in Europe. (Many of them do, after all, like to eat horsemeat. So for them it’s just a matter of mislabeling).
Most importantly, to my point of view, he furnishes a fine, fine example of the British humor—"A burger walks into a bar and asks for a drink. "I can’t hear you," says the barkeep. "Sorry," replies the burger. "I’m a little bit horse."
He also explores a bit of the history of horse-eating and, educates me, at least, on why so many humans choose to abhor such a readily-available and inexpensive protein.
Which is not to say I particularly care to eat horses. Or bugs. But, then, I’m pretty well-fed. Lots of people eat horses and bugs and chickens and other sorts of stuff you and I would regard as too nasty.
I have on hand numerous containers of sausage made from feral hogs. I trapped the hogs last summer and hauled them, live, to the butcher. This sausage is USDA inspected, and I describe it as "all natural" and "free range" and "organic" and give it away to guests and others.
What I’ve found is that lots of town friends—even the ones who love to shop at Whole Foods and pay extra for all-natural pork--just don’t like it. Their taste buds can’t get past that "feral" word. Country folks and hunter folks like it a lot. I’ve had to ration some of them.
So I share Mr. Cowell’s bemusement. I suppose there’s no accounting for taste. But somebody probably already said that.
The upside of closing meat plants?
Maybe FSIS can solve the packers’ oversupply problem for them. Just furlough the inspectors and shut down all the plants one day a week.
Presto: 20% less capacity.
Just joking, of course. But certainly it would be better than closing the plants for two weeks, the way Secretary Vilsack was talking about. One hopes the Administration knows that fed cattle are a perishable commodity and backing them up for two weeks would not only ruin the poor folks owning the cattle, but reduce beef demand and create a backlog that would wreck the whole market.
Note to Administration officials: That would mean cattle producers would pay less taxes.
Oh, Lucky Tyson!
Tyson’s outlook is just keen, despite what’s happening to beef demand.
The quote in this article that makes you grrrrr: "Demand is strong, and we're seeing signs of consumers trading from beef to chicken. Also despite increasing prices, chicken is a good value for consumers, and food service continues to promote chicken heavily, " said James Lochner, COO.
So what’s good for beef’s salesmen isn’t necessarily good for beef. I believe we talked earlier about the problem of relying on horizontally-integrated packers to sell our product.
A letter we like
These hog producers don’t buy the HSUS-as-friend-to-agriculture line.
The winner: Anaplasmosis
Canadian animal health authorities have given up on their efforts to eradicate anaplasmosis, citing the prevalence in the U.S.
Rain forest ranchers
An anthropologist takes a look at the pioneers who are cutting down the Brazilian rain forest to grow cattle.
ARS finds that cattle with attitudes are more inclined to sickness.
The Sierra Club has apparently decided PETA’s tactics are cool.
Stories we didn’t actually read:
Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea
'The Bachelor' Sean picks final two women, third is furious as she is sent home