This depressing news about horse-burgers reinforces my vegetarianism

Those of us brought up on Trigger, Black Beauty and Champion the Wonder Horse, who still love horses, would rather not be tricked into eating them

"I think I've just eaten horse," reports Fielding glumly, worried about the stuffing in his tortellini, and he's about to feed his cat Dolly. "What's in cat food? Horses?" Could be anything: horse, dog, rat? In Ruislip, in the 1950s, half an alsatian was found in a restaurant deep freeze, so one does have to be careful. Easier said than done nowadays.

What depressing news about horse-burgers, but not much of a surprise. I can't help but wonder what goes into comminuted meat. And now that so many people are boracic, horses cost £100 a week to keep, you can pick them up at sales for £5, you can't give them away and rescue centres are stuffed full, it must be a tremendous temptation to try a UK abattoir, which pays £230 a horse or £400 for a mare and foal.

This is a horrid thought to those of us brought up on Trigger, Black Beauty, Flicka and Champion the Wonder Horse, who still love horses, their intelligence, beauty and velvety noses, and would rather not be tricked into eating them. But Rosemary spotted some beef cattle on telly, which made her feel just as bad. "Did you see their heads stuck through those railings, eating?" she asked. "Wasn't it sad?"

Yes, it was, so I'm a vegetarian. Not a very good one, I admit. I ate turkey at Christmas and regret it bitterly. But at least I think I know vaguely where the poor turkey came from. Who knows what happens to the dumped, overbred, knackered or stolen horses? Thanks to a fairly silly tripartite agreement, they can be moved freely between France, UK and Ireland without health checks, or much of any sort of checks. Who knows where they've come from, how they die, and how long they have been squashed alive in a truck on its way to some grisly abattoir en route to your lasagne?

The answers to this problem are probably frightfully complicated. It doesn't help that the National Equine Database has closed because Defra withdrew its funding. But how about an abattoir-visiting module in the new-style GCSEs for starters?

Contributor

Michele Hanson

The GuardianTramp

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