In last week’s post, I looked back to the amazing revelations two years ago this week that horse DNA had been found in beef products sold in UK supermarkets.
Some of the controversy that accompanied the horsemeat scandal was no doubt caused by the UK’s special affiliation with equines. The idea of slaughtering these animals for meat has long been disturbing to British sensibilities.
A Spring day in 1911 at the bustling Belgian port of Antwerp; an English nurse, in her early fifties, Ada Cole, stood silent by the dockside scarcely believing her eyes. A cargo ship had pulled alongside and began to unload a slow procession of tired, worn-out horses which then shuffled along on their final journey.
These were English horses, exported to Belgium and forced to walk four and a half miles from the docks to be pole-axed at the slaughterhouse. It was a distasteful sight and locals would draw their curtains in protest. It was telling that this was done out of the sight of the horse-loving British people.