I was researching the horse meat scandal that happened recently in the UK. The first thing that struck me about it was that the presence of horse meat in products wasn’t actually hurting anybody, yet it still caused a commotion.
Initially, I thought that the issue most people had with the scandal was that they had been lied to and would be willing to eat horse meat if it was presented to them truthfully. My friend Jess and I conducted an experiment in which we handed out free samples of horse meat from a cart stall in Kingston.
A lot of peoples’ reactions were still negative, insisting that they could “never eat horse”, even when presented with the fact that it was bred and slaughtered ethically and is actually healthier than beef. We felt that this was down to the personification of horses in our culture; they are treated as friends or even members of family, which makes people squeamish over the thought of eating them - it would feel “wrong”.
I wanted to present this phenomenon in this series. The majority of people will not cosume meat that comes from anything that we give a personality. It would make them feel dirty or immoral for doing so, as if they were eating a member of their own species.