New Green Jack New Green Jack

27 responses to “A Trojan Horse with your fries”

    • DaisyMae Harris

      Thank you for the wise words Dale, let’s hope gives people the extra nudge they need to start down a more compassionate path. I’m tired of vegetarian-bashing that goes on in some green circles.

    • Jon Knight

      I’m a veggie as well, but I’ve been trying not to be smug about the horsemeat scandal because I don’t cook 100% of my meals from food I grow myself (its a high percentage mind, but there’s still the odd supermarket veggie burger or pizza in there). Now the horsemeat scandal is basically about the labels on the packets not matching up with what the product inside actually contains, so there’s no guarantee in my mind that the long supply chains that cause this won’t affect veggie/vegan meals.

      The beef eaters can’t trust the labels on their lasagne, and we veggies shouldn’t be so sure that we can trust the labels on our lentil burgers, unless we’re making them ourselves.

    • Jim Morris

      Your whole article is pointless as you try find hypocrisy where there is none. Jon Knight mentioned the real issue that people have. It is that people are being deceived about the food they buy as the packaging says one thing but the content is another.

      This has major implications as how are customers suppose to believe the food industry when it says the food is halal or, as Jon pointed out, that it is veggie/vegan meal.

      How about rewriting the article to highlight the actual problem at hand, rather than this sensationalist rubbish.

    • John Lomas

      Hi I have often wondered this, if we all went vegetarian or vegan, how would we dispose of the 10’s of millions of animal and bird carcases which would result because there is no longer any reason for farmers to keep the animals

        • Ms Vanilla Rose

          What? If the farmers were not breeding these animals for human use, they would not exist. And the land would be used for agroforestry, parks, allotments and many other good things.

        • clare p

          It wouldn’t happen overnight, as demand would decline so would supply.

    • John Morgan

      I’m not vegetarian, have (knowingly) eaten horsemeat, in my opinion the name is one of the biggest problems, it’s not cowmeat but beef, not pigmeat but pork/bacon/gammon, and yes I have thought of chicken or lamb.
      There is one issue in my opinion;
      But this in turn causes people who choose for religious reasons not to eat certain meats (apparently horses are not kosher either) have no idea what is in their food.

    • Alex

      The intro to this article is flawed. I’m not bothered if I eat horse meat, I asked my friends if they were bothered, they weren’t.
      I asked my work colleagues if they were bothered by eating horse, most just laughed!

      The only people that seem to think there’s a story is the media and the vegetarian hippy do-gooders that seem to want to force their opinions on others.

      As Homer Simpson said “you don’t win friends with salad”

        • Ms Vanilla Rose

          I think most of us would say that Homer Simpson, whilst fun to watch, is not someone from whom we would take advice.

            • Martina

              Great point. And if you are still mislead by the very banal and outdated opinion that vegetarians eat only salads, please click on my name now.

    • Justine

      According to the news, sales of meat-free burgers and ready meals are soaring in the light of the horse meat scandal. I’ve heard a few fellow vegans declaring how they just don’t get why people have a problem eating horses but not cows. However, I think we do understand; we are a nation of hypocrites. We are culturally conditioned to care for our pets and companion animals and therefore have some empathy and compassion for cats, dogs and horses, while at the same time, we are quite happy to chomp down on the flesh of millions of poor cows, pigs and sheep tortured and slain by multinational companies on such a grand scale it has been likened to a holocaust – every day! One good thing that may come out of this calamity is that more people may decide to stop eating meat. Well here’s hoping anyway.

    • Martina

      Excellent post, great and pretty exhaustive points.
      As from some comments in here, the denial and mockery of the wide public is to be expected but, as the wise man says, they are just the first steps towards accepting the truth.

    • Jane Easton

      Firstly, salad? What planet did that come from?! Veggies and vegans eat a huge variety of anazing dishes inspired by global cuisine. If you don’t believe me, go to Vegetarian Recipe Club to get some ideas.
      Secondly, it’s time we looked more closely at our relationship with animals. A lot of our ideas are based on outmoded science and also religious writings that many of us don’t even believe in any more; sets of rules written for desert tribes thousands of years ago. In fact, current science proves that all animals, including fish, are far more intelligent and complex than we ever thought. Yet we continue to treat our fellow Earthlings as if they are a giant MacDonald’s to rampage through. So where do we draw the line about what we eat?. Stupidity? Well, we’d be eating each other if that was the case! Many of us exhibit extreme intellectual and emotional stupidity at various times in our lives, myself included! We humans are capable of great things but also guilty of petty prejudice and unkindness. Smaller brains? We don’t eat human babies or adults with extreme learning difficulties – and in fact, many animals are more intelligent than that group of homo sapiens. Also, we tend to focus on what animals can’t do – some of the things they CAN do put us to shame – extraordinary eyesight, hearing, smell, physical agility – flying… the list is endless. There are also well documented studies of animal altruism to their own species and to others. We treat animals as if they are our slaves. It’s unjust, cruel and inflicts suffering beyond our imagining. I’ve seen the footage, lots of it, and I know I never want to give my money to these exploiters. I grew up eating meat and I’ve changed. Most vegans started off eating the ‘cultural norm’ ie animal foods – so that means all of us are capable of making the change.
      Lastly, eating less meat – better still, going veggie/vegan – is essential for the planet’s and our own survival. We breed and kill 58 billion animals for food each year. It’s the most wasteful and inefficient method of feeding ourselves ever. This isn’t hippy sensationalism but well-documented by the United Nations and every ecological group worth its salt around the world. There is lots of hard science to back this up.

        • Joe V

          Humans are animals too. Some humans ate humans and probably still would if authorities had ignored it. Some animals eat animals. Their stomachs have evolved to consume that, as have ours. Thousands of years ago humans could not have survived without meat. Not sure there’s a problem provided the welfare and slaughter is as humane as possible, and priced accordingly. You get what you pay for. If you want change start by voting for politicians who don’t run businesses but want to serve the country full-time.

    • Juliet Carter

      I am one of those meat eaters who is bothered by eating horse meat. Big time. I own two horses and I can’t bear to think of them ending up on someone’s dinner plate. Most dog and cat owners would see my point. It is just cultural as to why I’ll eat cows but not horses. I am a hypocrite, encouraged to be so by society, school, parents. I’m going vegetarian.

    • John Ratcliffe

      Well, it’s almost the end of February 2013 and for several weeks Britain has been caught up in the scandal about horsemeat found in beef burgers and other ready meals. Just yesterday another major manufacturer’s products have tested positive for horse DNA and this time it’s one of the most well known and respected brands. At the same time a major supplier to schools and the National Health Service and the military has been proven to have horsemeat in their beef products. No wonder people are outraged, wherever you go you are sure to hear someone talking about it. Fancy eating horses, how can it happen that sweet, loving, gentle horses can end up in the slaughter house. Well, in many countries that’s always been where they end up. In many countries horsemeat is no more taboo than cow meat. There is no risk to health from eating horses so it’s not that which abhors people, no, it’s the fact that a horse, which we think of more like a pet than a steak dinner, is ending up like this.

      I love horses. I love all animals and I am not trying to say that it’s OK to eat them. No, I am just asking you what is the difference between eating a horse and eating a cow, or a sheep, or a pig? We have established that it is not on health grounds that you object so it must be on deeper, emotional grounds. How is it that you can see the living, loving pet animal in a horse but not in a cow or a pig. Did you know that most pigs are more intelligent than dogs? Imagine your pet dog going to be killed in an abattoir, how would he or she as an intelligent animal feel? Imagine the fear as he hears the screams of his friends who are just ahead of him in the line. Wouldn’t that be terrible for your dog? Well it’s exactly like that every day for millions of pigs, and millions of sheep, and millions of cows, and now, it seems in the light of recent discoveries, for millions of horses too. But you have chosen to object about the horses. Why? When you eat a beef burger you are eating a piece of a cow. A beef burger is not some strange product that magically appears on the supermarket shelves, it is the result of an horrific series of events that started out with an animal with the same feelings and potential for love as your pet dog.

      Having experienced the feeling of revulsion about the horsemeat scandal, won’t you try to see that it’s just as revolting to eat cows as it is horses. There is absolutely no difference. A horse isn’t a particularly intelligent or special animal. All animals are special but there is nothing that makes a horse better in some way than a cow. There is no need in today’s world to behave like our remote ancestors did, craving the flesh of other creatures. You may not go out with your spear hunting down some poor, unwary animal, but by buying and consuming meat you are condoning and endorsing someone else doing it for you. Indeed, you are paying them to do it for you.

      There is a vast range of food for sale today that is not contaminated with the blood of animals. It’s much easier to become vegetarian or vegan than it was twenty years ago when I started to question where the rump steak on my plate had come from. Oh yes, I used to eat meat. I used to love it. A rare, rump steak was my favourite meal, and do you know what? It still would be if I didn’t care more about animals. You see, I am not a vegetarian for health reasons, or because I don’t like meat anyway. The health side of it is just a bonus, but it is a real bonus, a vegetarian diet is indeed far healthier than a meat based one, but that’s not it, I am a vegetarian because I don’t want animals to be horrifically killed to satisfy the primitive cravings of my body for flesh.

      If you like beef burgers, as I do, try the Quorn ones, or the Linda Mc.Cartney ones, or the ones produced for your favourite supermarket under their own brand name. They are great. If you like sausages the Cauldron Cumberland sausages are the best I have tasted, they also do a Lincolnshire sausage too. There are lots of ready meals for people in a hurry as well and you will be able to sit at your dining table and enjoy them with a clear conscience.

      This horsemeat scare will blow over soon. Everything does. It might take a while for the meat industry to regain customer confidence but people have short memories. This time next year, or maybe in six month’s time it will be yesterday’s news. Will you be one of those who forget about what has happened and go back to happily eating cow burgers, or will you let it be a wake up call for you? You have been disturbed by what has been brought to light, you don’t want to eat horses, do you really want to eat cows? Or sheep? Or pigs? You may try rationalizing it with the argument that those animals are part of the food chain and a horse is not but that doesn’t really work if you are a cow, or a sheep, or a pig. And anyway, we have already established that a horse is also part of the food chain in some countries, haven’t we?

    • Philip McCulloch-Downs

      This is a very concise and very accurate article that highlights some very uncomfortable truths about our blinkered and hypocritical society – as is evidenced by some of the comments below in that it is very easy to blame the issue of labelling/the media sensationalising this issue/the ‘hippy vegetarians for forcing their views on us’ without addressing the very obvious fact that eating meat of any kind will inevitably involve the consumer in a process that utilises industrialised cruelty. The simple fact is that meat production(any sort of meat) is a vile process, hidden away from public view, and that meat as a substance is not necessary for human survival. If that is a ‘hippy viewpoint’ then I’m glad to have it, glad to be vegan (and very healthy with it), and glad that I don’t have any friends who think that it’s some kind of badge of honour to be able eat horse, cow, dog, whatever. The ‘Horse meat scandal’ is nothing more than a slight variation on the hidden scandal of meat itself, and is to be welcomed for dragging hypocrisy and ignorance into the spotlight. And those who wish to eat horse meat can simply ignore it and just carry on doing so, as none of these arguments about compassion will in any way affect them.

    • Chris

      I find it fascinating how people perceive and interpret the same story in completely different lights. I’ve heard people react in both extremes to the horse meat story. Some with disgust and some with complete apathy.

      I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I am a meat eater and also disgusted at this story. For me however, it’s nothing to do with finding one animal more or less acceptable to eat then others. It’s to do with the level of disruption in the chain, lack of transparency and accountability. From the lengthy international and overly complex supply chains we see on the news, it appears nobody can be completely sure where their meat is farmed or exactly how it is treated and killed. (See the map on: )

      How can Tesco in Britain, really keep a track of what is happening on a daily basis in Abattoirs in Romania and Meat Processing plants in France? I would suggest that they have never and probably will never be able to efficiently execute such a complex task. It’s a pipe dream in my opinion. Even now the Food Standards Agency has only been able to offer guarantees such as ‘We have tested samples of this particular supply and can assure consumers that it contains no more than 1% horse meat’. 1% horse meat? ..How the chuff did that cheeky little number end up in my food?! ! ..Like I say, I’m not particularly bothered by the horse in itself. But conversely would also not agree with those who rant about ‘meat is meat’! ..No, it’s not. We need to know where it came from. We need to know how it was processed. We need to know how it was killed. We need to know how the it was reared. Some meat is more ethically treated than others. Some is more closely regulated then others. Some is safer then others. These are basic questions, we should ask of any food.

      If we don’t know what’s in our food, we can’t possibly know if it’s safe. Were the horses treated with drugs? Did the drugs get into our food? There is also a certain amount of diminished responsibility and plausible deniability that tends to seep out of and multiply from these complex situations. So accountability decreases.

      I think if there’s a lesson to be learned from this, it’s that yes our demand for meat and dairy is probably too great. But also that our demand generally is too great. We are the ones who have forced local butchers out of business. The butchers who could tell you the name of the farmer and the field the animal came from. We support big Supermarkets and their (our) unquenchable thirst for all things ‘cheap’. Our food, like a lot of things, is artificially cheap. Produced by heavily diverted food chains and worryingly over stretched farmers who are lucky if they can squeeze a profit from a pint of milk. Over seen by employees of massive businesses, with impossible tasks and little personal touch.

      I also can’t help finding it somewhat ironic. All this results from a population that is becoming increasingly incapable of acting together. A population which doesn’t want to pay higher taxes, co-ordinate public services or support the NHS. But that can find the MOST efficient ways to co-ordinate massive buying power to deprive farmers and mistreat livestock.

      In short yes, encouraging people to eat less meat may be positive. I am certainly trying to! However it’s really time to think much bigger then ‘meat or veggie’.

    • mary omnes

      There is something about this entry that makes me feel uncomfortable. I find the photo an over-simplification and ineffectual emotive response to a complex issue.
      To call all meat eaters hypocrites is harsh in the extreme. There are many meat eaters who only eat free range locally produced meat, it tastes good, and is good for one’s health.
      In my experience, the majority of people, meat eaters and vegetarians alike are decent human beings just trying to get through each day as best they can. If people don’t have a lot of money, they go for the cheapest option. It doesn’t make them hypocrites if they complain when they learn they’ve not been eating what they thought they were, whether it’s horse or rat or cat or dog. I’m sure Mr. Vince would be upset if he discovered there was flour or soya beans or something he didn’t know about in his lentil burgers.
      For me the whole issue is an economic one, and a symptom that something is seriously wrong with the way our economy works, but it’s a complicated business.I don’t understand how things got to be so complicated, and I have no idea how to uncomplicate them but if Mr. Vince and his enterprises can help in this respect, I shall be truly grateful, but I don’t think he should call a large section of society hypocrites, it’s alienating.
      As regards the Viva article, it’s sad to think of all those animals suffering and I’m glad they are doing something about it. I’m behind them all the way.

      Mary Omnes

    • ZQ477

      The DNA testing which found horsemeat in the first few meat products correlates with the initial proposal for a nasty Channel4 play called Utopia. The writer thought that it would be unacceptable to murder or sterilise everyone but that we should know what was in the food which we eat now that it is possible to find out. He thought it a fair use of some of his share of the sales of the play to spend it on that testing. The writer suggested that people who do paperwork probably would propose onerous systems of more paperwork and legislation to track horses, but that somehow or other people would still find ways of getting horse into supermarket meat products. DNA testing of boxed end-product from supermarket shelves looking for four categories of DNA fragment
      “definitely beef”, “definitely horse”, “common to both” and “unidentified” would be sufficient to estimate the fraction of horse in a burger.

      Probable expected consequences would be a drop in gratuitous meat consumption, hence a slight increase in the agricultural carrying capacity of the uk. We can’t ban meat, but we can expose the lies which go on nice looking beef labelled boxes in the supermarket.

      If you think that writer is a dude for raising and spending money on something which should have been done then please propagate the message above.

      That writer also wanted to go green at the house where the play was filmed, getting maximum sensible solar and wind renewables there if his share of sales could pay for it. Zerotechnology could help out with project management and 2013 specifications if asked to.

    • Andreas

      “And I don’t mean to sound smug, but I have the comfort of being distant from the action, there’s no possibility of horsemeat turning up in my lentil burgers… presumably…”

      Is this not that he actual issue? – the label of the food? If horse can be sold as beef, then anything can be sold as anything.

      Failing to understand this is the way of a small child. I am sure you would not be happy to have some toxic mushrooms in your food!

    • Donna

      Dear Dale

      Glad to say as a vegan too I have no concerns about what I am eating! And how hypocritical for the consumers to be bothered. Cows, pigs, sheep, horses – they all wanted to live.

      Anyway, trying to get hold of you as looking for inspirational vegans to speak at a demonstration in London on the 15th of June. I would be massively grateful if you could get in touch.

      Thanks, Donna

    • Devan

      Hi, I own a small piece of land how easy is it to get planning permission to build a wind turbine and how much does the national grid pay for excess kw? cheers