German Politician Suggests Feeding Horse to the Poor

Suggestion meets with resistance from soup kitchens, poor people
Wikimedia/Princess Merida

With the horse-tainted beef scandal running up and down Europe and new evidence that a potentially harmful horse drug may have gotten into the food supply, the issue has continued to gain momentum and the amount of recalled meat continues to grow. Some of the meat has been used for biofuel, but one German politician thought he had another idea: Let’s just feed it to the poor.

In what was a big surprise to nobody but Hartwig Fischer of the Christian Democratic Union, that idea did not meet universal approval.

"Such a suggestion can only result in head-shaking," said a spokesperson for the German Catholic Bishops, presumably while shaking his head.

According to The Local, Fischer said it was a shame to destroy the meat that had already been made into lasagna and other prepared foods. "These are high-quality products found in Germany, not health-endangering foods."

The issue is still under debate, but the federal association of soup kitchens was reluctant to relabel and distribute the horsemeat, saying there was no demand for it. Some politicians said the idea was insulting to the poor.

"One should not expect people in need to eat food which has been removed from sale," said soup kitchen manager Christian Bakemeier.


The idea of distributing horsemeat to the needy hinges on the premise that it is safe for human consumption, and that has been called into question since France’s agriculture ministry announced that the horse drug Phenylbutazone, or bute, had probably already made it into the human food chain. The anti-inflammatory drug is potentially harmful to humans and is not legal for use in food. According to the Global Post, the health risk is reported to be minor, but the equivalent of three horses worth of bute-tainted meat had probably already been eaten before the recall.