Top Chef Canada is airing an episode today that will feature the cheftestants cooking native French cuisine.
French cuisine is known for its heavy use of animal products and this Top Chef episode is angering vegetarians and meat-eaters over the use of horse meat. Fans have posted their opinions of the show’s Facebook page and generated another page urging viewers to boycott Top Chef Canada.
“There’s absolutely no way to make it humane,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute, a group that succeeded in getting several of the last horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. shut down. “It’s an industry that cannot be regulated to make it humane.”
Horses used for meat are obtained from old racehorses that are deemed no longer competitive. The animals are slaughtered with the same equipment used for cows, making it inefficient and causing suffering. They are also shipped hundreds of miles to the location of the slaughter.
Because horses aren’t raised for food, producers do not have to follow guidelines on acceptable chemicals that may be present in the product. Horse meat may contain several drugs and potential carcinogens to humans, including antibiotics, steroids, de-wormers and the common horse veterinary medicine DMSO.
Passing on horse meat while consuming other flesh doesn’t guarantee this meat will not end up in the food chain. In Britain, officials discovered several sources of salami that were imported from other countries contaminated with horse meat.
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