If dogs were cows and horses pigs…

Tales From The Water Cooler

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The Independent Online

I find the widespread revulsion over the meat scandal to be a little perplexing. It brings to mind an incident which shows up a lot of the consumer and media outrage for what it is: silly, manufactured hypocrisy.

Years ago, responding to reports of a fondness among some Koreans for consuming dog meat, my father the militant vegan once opened my eyes to the truth about our perception of meat and of what is taboo or otherwise to consume. If dogs were the size of cows and cows the size of dogs, he explained, you would be more than happy to scoff a poodle burger before taking Buttercup the miniature Friesian out for a walk.

Unlike many things in life, it's all about the size.

There's really no reason for us to be so horrified at the prospect of eating horse. Its slaughter will have been no more grim than that of the pigs, sheep or cows which go to their maker without a peep from us.

As my father used to say, meat on its own is pretty bland and occasionally distasteful (lumps of gristle in sausages? Mmmm), but we smother it in all sorts of sauces and gravies to hide this fact. I tend to suspect that is what we are doing with the horsemeat scandal.

Deep down, we all feel a little guilty about being meat eaters. We are all aware of the double standard we display while eating a bacon sandwich and owning a dog.

By screaming for the salvation of horses, we smear a little ointment on our smarting conscience. But methinks we doth protest too much.