The appalling horse meat scandal should come as no surprise.
It has entered the human food chain while being labelled as “beef” by manufacturers supplying ready-meals to the supermarkets.
This gross misrepresentation is set to escalate even further, showing that a wide range of food products have been sold to the public dishonestly through incorrect labelling for some considerable time.
Not only does this present a possible human health threat due to the horse meat being contaminated with the dangerous anti-inflammatory drug phenybutazone (bute) but it also highlights serious animal welfare issues and the dubious practices associated with the very nasty horse meat trade.
We already know that horses bred for racing if not considered up to standard are ruthlessly despatched to the abattoir, and in many countries working horses who toil all day long, sometimes in dreadful conditions, are callously disposed of when they are no longer fit enough to work, instead of being retired to enjoy their days grazing in a field.
There is also the dreadful suffering endured by the horses who are transported abroad for slaughter, who arrive at their destination often distressed, in pain, and having been given no food or water during their horrific long journeys.
Throughout history these noble creatures have been abused by mankind with millions dying on the battlefields in wars, and many exposed to injury while being used by the police for crowd-control at football matches and riots.
I sincerely hope this scandal makes us rethink our eating habits and prompts a return to trading with local butchers and smaller shops who can be relied upon for good quality, accurate labelling and knowing the source of their products.
Alternatively, it would be preferable to switch to a more healthy vegetarian diet. If the public really saw the cruelty that goes on in slaughterhouses they would never want to eat meat again.
Susan Richardson, Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield S10