Horsemeat debate has reared its head again – but would you eat it?

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Have your say

It has been claimed a current crisis over the number of abandoned horses in the UK could be partially resolved if we ate horse meat.

But would putting a value on unwanted horses by creating a market for horsemeat actually prevent cases of neglect? And would the public even buy it?

We took to the streets of Lynn to find out.

Paige Nichols, 20, of Gaywood, said people have been eating horsemeat anyway without knowing, as revealed by the scandal in January 2013 when products sold as beef were found to contain the meat.

She said: “I have never had horsemeat knowingly, but I’d definitely try it. I don’t think it’s bad to eat horsemeat, and making horses more valuable could also stop the neglect by some owners.”

Suzie Coates, 57, also of Gaywood, agreed. She said: “I think people would eat horsemeat if it was more readily available and if it’s going to help the welfare of horses, then it’s a good idea.”

Mike Taylor, 63, of Snettisham, didn’t think the public would readily accept horsemeat on their plates.

He said: “I have never had horsemeat to my knowledge. I would possibly buy it if it was in the shops, but I don’t think it will ever get to that stage. I don’t think the public would accept it.”

Paul Collison, 43, of Watlington, said he too hadn’t tried horsemeat knowingly, but would “try anything once”. He added: “You might see horsemeat for sale in some of the European supermarkets, but I don’t see it ever being for sale elsewhere. The British are too set in their ways.”

Tom Parker, 25, from Wisbech, who runs a pet food stall at Lynn’s Tuesday market, said: “It’s very controversial and there are arguments for and against.

“I think if there was a market for horsemeat it would stop horses being mistreated so much, but if there was more value on them people could go out stealing them and where do you stop?

“They eat horses abroad but in this country many people see them as pets. What would be next? Cats and dogs?”

n See also our story on Page 7.