Ya gotta be quick to put the bite on this
To be an admirer of horseflesh usually puts one in the class of racetrack touts and spivs. But there is another aspect that is winning admirers in Australia: that’s right – the horse as tasty morsel.
Horse steaks are not everyone’s cup of tea. Indeed, in Australia, it is difficult to find a restaurant serving horse. This could be due to the fact there is only one qualified butcher legally able to horse meat for human consumption.
He’s a bloke called Vince Garreffa who hails from Perth. He slaughters about twenty horses a year and sells about 500kg of horse meat a month, and supplies about four restaurants in each of Australia’s six states.
Not only is this delicacy difficult to obtain it is costly, too, with a kilo selling for $30-$90 according to the cut. The big difference between the horses Garreffa butchers and that sold by pet shops is that his animals are guaranteed free of steroids and growth hormones. He does want buyers to consume it for the taste alone!
It is interesting that Australians may not eat much horse meat but we sure sell quite a bit of it overseas. It seems we export around 10,000 horses a year to offshore markets for human consumption. They are butchered in Queensland and sold primarily to markets in Russia, France and Belgium.
The trade netted Australia some $8.5 million in export earnings last year but already this year sales have topped $3.6 million in the first three months.
Garreffa accepts that many people cannot come to grips with the concept of eating horse. He doesn’t try to persuade waverers and keeps the product out of his display windows. The fact that he has attracted plenty of protests ensures his circumspection.
Garreffa says horse meat is very dark red and rich in iron. The taste is like beef but with, he suggests, a hint of sweet overtone toward the back of the palate.
And while the idea may not appeal to all, how can it really be different from eating cow, bull, goat or chicken?
Acknowledgement: Alex Speed, The Weekend Australian