Horse meat was essential

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The ongoing horse meat saga set my memory cells working.

I remember back in the late 1940s and early 1950s that there was a shop down by Scarborough Market that sold horse meat, albeit with a sign that said “not for human consumption”.

In essence it was sold for pet food, as back then there were no supermarkets where tinned pet food could be acquired.

I recollect that it had a green dye sprayed on it and that when it was boiled it had an awful smell.

As we were subject to meat and other foods rationing back then I now wonder how many people actually bought it for their own consumption?

My late father was part of the invasion force in North Africa in 1942 with the 78th Battleaxe Division and fought his way through Sicily, Italy via Montecasino and was in Austria on VE Day.

His unit met up with the Russian Cossacks and he was so distressed by the starving local population that night time drinking contests with the Russians were organised, and when they were too drunk to realise what was happening soldiers from his unit stole the Russian horses and delivered them to the Austrians where they slaughtered and fed the local population for a considerable period. He was in Austria until just before his demobilisation in 1946.

So however repugnant we find eating horse today there were times when it was essential to human survival.

RM Hird

Trinity Gardens

Scarborough