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News Flash

Beer Bistro gets slammed for serving horse

Posted by Robyn Urback / October 5, 2010

About 40 animal activists gathered downtown yesterday to protest the sale of horse meat at the Beer Bistro, as well as to bring attention to Bill C-544, which seeks to prohibit the slaughter of horses for consumption.

The picketers gathered outside the restaurant even though it had removed horse meat from its menu last week. "We have never had a problem with serving horse meat," said owner and chef Brian Morin. "It is something our customers ask for."

Activists claim that horses are inhumanely slaughtered and should not be bred for food. The group plans to protest La Palette on Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market and Hoof Cafe, on Dundas St. W, both of which they say also sell horse meat.



john / October 5, 2010 at 09:32 am
Horse is delicious and I have a hard time seeing why it is any less "moral" than eating beef.
Clay / October 5, 2010 at 09:40 am
Agreed, If you're going to picket for one form of meat, you should just picket for all forms of meat. Its common knowledge that the forms of slaughtering for the majority if distributers is either inhumane, or just shocking. Picketers could seek the information of where these restaurants meats come from and the practices they use, then if deemed inhumane go that route instead of cornering themselves with one animal.
Susan / October 5, 2010 at 09:41 am
I just ate at the Beer Bistro on Saturday night during Nuit Blanche, the service was fabulous, the food delicious (I did not nor would I eat horse meat although sold all through France in the food markets as I am sure in other countries) I object to people deliberately attacking a business because of their personal tastes, views and preferences. Keep the businesses out of the equation and maybe people will abide but we are all entitled to eat what we choose and where!
Al / October 5, 2010 at 09:47 am
Agreed, John. Most ridiculous protest ever. Lots of slaugherhouses treat all sorts of animals unethically--so maybe they should protest every restaurant in the city where the meat hasn't been ethically sourced. Oh, wait, that's almost all of them. Also, I know someone who has spoken to these people directly. They are ill-informed and don't understand any of the issues, which, of course, have nothing specific to do with horses. I rode horses when I was younger and have no problems eating horse that was properly and ethically raised for food.
L / October 5, 2010 at 09:51 am
I don't understand the difference between eating horse and eating cow or chicken or pig. I think that if "meat protesters" were to protest some unethical practice in the meat industry, it should be factory farming. Why don't these people put their energy to better use and go to a fast food restaurant and protest, or a grocery store and protest the factory-farmed and processed meat that is being sold there. Don't bother these small businesses! Their food practices are MUCH more ethical than any McDonald's or Wendy's fast food restaurant.

Adam / October 5, 2010 at 09:55 am
This is an issue?

Why does anyone think it's necessary to ban killing horses for food? Wouldn't it be smarter to ensure that the process is humane, and let people eat what they want?
Empty Belly / October 5, 2010 at 09:58 am
Smoked horse carpaccio, mmmm.
Dan_ / October 5, 2010 at 10:04 am
What hypocrites.

I agree with everyone here, to protest one sort of meat and not others is ridiculous. Why not protest the consumption of Lamb because they are the cutest of acceptable meat.
geg / October 5, 2010 at 10:07 am
Every time I go to La Palette I have their horse.. it's sublime.
These protestors can say whatever the hell they want, I don't really care.
Daniel / October 5, 2010 at 10:20 am
I got to try horse some time.
k / October 5, 2010 at 10:45 am
I am a vegetarian and still do not understand this garbage.

There are tons of restaurants in this city that don't take any time or effort to ensure their serving animals that have been humanely and healthily farmed, why is horse more offensive?

Horse is just another animal that people like to eat and eating is a personal choice, not a subject for protest. Protest things that matter, like factory farming and animal abuse, better yet; advocate for change to the actual decision makers not a restaurant.

It's so ridiculous.
Jeremy / October 5, 2010 at 10:56 am
Rather than protesting inhumane practices, these protesters should put their money where their mouths are and provide an ethical alternative: slaughter animals in a safe and humane way and sell the meat to restaurants interested in differentiating themselves. Everybody wins right?
Alex / October 5, 2010 at 11:07 am
Horse meat for sale for food equals better horses in the show ring, because you always make a profit whether or not they take part in the various sports in which they currently participate. See also: Germany, Hanoverians.
John / October 5, 2010 at 11:08 am
I'd like to thank the protesters for drawing attention to the fact Beer Bistro offers horse meat on its menu. Having never tried it before, I think I will drop by to try it & taste what all the fuss is about. If I happen to like it, I think I might go out of my way to sample the menus of their other targets as well.
gr1 / October 5, 2010 at 11:12 am
GregM / October 5, 2010 at 11:25 am
I've had the horse tartare on their menu, and it was quite tasty, actually. It was served with a tiny fried quail egg on top. I've never eaten horse before or since, but I really don't understand the difference here from steak tartare.

Maybe it's just a case of people like some semi-"vegetarians" I have met who are squeamish about the source of their proteins, and won't eat "anything with a face" (i.e., fish is okay, so is dairy). I get where vegans are coming from and I can totally respect the position and the commitment required to keep it. But these people with poorly-thought-out positions who think they can exert their opinions on others should get over themselves, because you can't eat factory farmed beef and argue with the same mouth that eating horse meat is wrong.
Colonel Tom / October 5, 2010 at 01:04 pm
Yes, I understand all of you when you slam the protestors as semi-vegetarians. And indeed I can see the hypocrisy. But I really think that if you are going to be eating horse meat you'd better make sure where these restaurants are sourcing their meat. There is no such thing as an organic horse farm in this country. These horses are sold off the track, or have often been flipped from owner to owner. Almost all of them have had heavy duty (and quite poisonous to human) drugs in their system. Caveat emptor.
And I, for one, will never eat horse. If it wears a collar or a harness it will not be going on my plate. Bon appetit.
Jason / October 5, 2010 at 01:07 pm
And I guarantee the majority of these protestors go home and feed hose meat (which is 90% of all wet pet food) to their dogs and cats without a problem.
john replying to a comment from Colonel Tom / October 5, 2010 at 02:56 pm
"If it wears a collar or a harness it will not be going on my plate."

Can I ask how you arrived at this distinction of which animals you are willing to slaughter for food and which you are not? Does it also extend to those you are willing to slaughter for clothing? Or to those which you are willing to keep confined in order for your personal amusement, be it as a pet or at a race?

I'm really not trying to be snarky -- I'm just trying to figure out how you drew the line there.
TheRealJohnson / October 5, 2010 at 03:22 pm
This headline makes it seem as though a bar is getting slammed for serving alcohol to a horse. I'm sure both sides of the argument would rather read about that. Drunk horses would be downright hilarious.
BigFresh replying to a comment from TheRealJohnson / October 5, 2010 at 05:21 pm
Yeah: if you can get them to drink.
John replying to a comment from Jeremy / October 5, 2010 at 05:25 pm
Uhhh, not the animals....
Colonel Tom replying to a comment from john / October 5, 2010 at 06:31 pm
In answer to your question...I am a lover of horses. In fact I ride my horse almost every day. I don't eat horse, cat, dog or animals that either work for us or "amuse us". They are domesticated pets and or work animals. They are not bred for meat in Canada. Please let me be clear. I understand that some people like the taste of horse. But no one breeds horse for human consumption in this country. They are BY PRODUCTS. And largely poisonous by products. Regardless of the fact that as an equestrian I abhor the consumption of horse, I think Canadians who eat horse are nuts. I know and understand the drugs that go through these animals. The French breed particular types of horse for food. We do not. Canadians consume either horses from the track (completely poisonous), rejected or neglected pleasure horses (drugload unknown, as no one is required to keep track) or mares who've been used for their urine to make hormone cream for menopausal women (again, drugload uncertain).
To me it is simple. I am a carnivore. I try to make smart choices about the meat I eat and I will pay good money to eat organic, non-messed with meat. I sure as hell won't eat work animals unless I had no other option. Same goes with dogs and cats and other domesticated animals.
Josh replying to a comment from Colonel Tom / October 5, 2010 at 07:07 pm
This is ridiculous.

The meat industries in Canada are heavily regulated and supervised. If horse meat were (chronically) unsafe, it wouldn't get to our plates. It might be unethical and it might be distasteful (I don't happen to think either one), but if it weren't safe to eat, there's no way we'd get the opportunity.

My understanding is that a lot of Canadian-slaughtered horse meat is exported to the EU. I can't imagine that would be the case if there wasn't good safety oversight.
James / October 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm
Sticking with the horse family, "Jackasses" would seem to be the appropriate label for these folks. They might as well protest at all of the gourmet restaurants in the city then as that is what steak tartar is traditionally made of.
Jason / October 5, 2010 at 11:00 pm
Thank you for bringing this horse meat situation to my attention. I love horse meat and wasn't aware that it's available in Toronto.
Colonel Tom / October 6, 2010 at 09:37 am
Read this for me, then tell me that you trust the word of some knacker that the horse you are eating hasn't consumed any of these drugs in the last six months. They don't know. They've just bought it from some equestrian centre or race track. There's a reason these animals are sold off the farm by the pound. Horses that fetched thousands of dollars at one point in their lives. They do not come with vaccination/medication papers. Just the word of someone that they are "clean". The entire history of buying and selling horses is much akin to the used car trade. Again...buyer (and eater)beware.
CandyVag replying to a comment from Josh / October 6, 2010 at 10:39 am
Though I agree with most of the commenters here re: ALL inhumane treatment of animals is wrong, I completely disagree with Josh's conclusion that because the meat industry is heavily regulated and supervised, it is safe to eat.

Five words: E. coli. Maple Leaf recall.

I also wonder how many people eat horse meat to prove how macho and edgy they are to their friends.
jamesmallon replying to a comment from Colonel Tom / October 6, 2010 at 11:29 am
The drug thing is the most rational argument, and scary. I doubt beef or pork is any better, and I am sure chicken is a good deal worse; rumour is that lamb is best as it is not a big enough industry to have become completely 'rationalized'. Wish I could afford to buy all my flesh at Cumbrae's, but alas no.
Geoff / October 6, 2010 at 04:02 pm
I can't even beleive this... where do we stop then. If not horse then why not dogs or cats??? I think you all would change your tune if BB started serving Schnauzer... "But meat from one animal is the same as another....." Blah blah blah, sick!
Davak / October 6, 2010 at 05:01 pm
Never had horse in my life, and all these morons did was make me really want to go to one of these restaurants and try some.
Justin replying to a comment from Geoff / October 6, 2010 at 05:51 pm
I'll take a horse burger please, and to wash it down a tall frosty glass of the tears of herbivores.
Colonel Tom / October 6, 2010 at 08:51 pm
I have to say that the general tenor of conversation on this thread is simple-minded, angry and reactionary. When given an opportunity to write something meaningful an awful lot of these folks go kneejerkish. Go ahead and gobble down whatever you want in the name of defending your right to eat whatever you want. But if you're gonna do it in anger I'd wager you will get a mighty cramp. So long for now...
geoff / October 6, 2010 at 09:47 pm
Very typical of the readers of this blog... eat a horse but whatever you do don't drive a car... hypocrites and contrarians. Argue for the sake of arguing....
geoff replying to a comment from Justin / October 6, 2010 at 09:48 pm
I'm sure there is another kind of burger you should be eating idiot!
Olaf / October 6, 2010 at 09:54 pm
What, did the horse complain about the beer being warm and send it back?
Roger replying to a comment from TheRealJohnson / October 7, 2010 at 09:36 am
I saw a horse get a drink at a bar. It was in New Orleans. It was a police officer on horseback. I'll see if I can find the photo.
Terry / October 8, 2010 at 11:33 am
No sir, I don't like it!
irina / October 27, 2010 at 03:35 am
This is ridiculous. Horses, like cows, like pigs, like chickens, like fish and like ANYTHING animal being eaten, is probably to some degree inhumanely treated unless you do the whole organic biodynamic farm thing... If you protest one meat, protest them all... Or, just do something more productive with your time, like think rationally.
Jon / May 10, 2013 at 09:36 am
Why is it ok to eat cows and not horses?

I spent a lot of time around horses. I don't understand why anyone loves them. All the do is crap a lot and you can ride them. You could ride a cow if you wanted. There'd probably be less injuries if people rode cows. They are more docile. A horse will see a rabbit or mouse or some other insignificant creature that is 100x smaller than it and go mental, kicking people or bucking them off, causing serious injury. Cows don't care about much. Why people think putting their 12 year old daughters on top of a 1000 lbs frightened animal that is too stupid to know what it's doing is a good idea, is beyond me.

When I was around them I'd see at least one fracture a month. Not very safe IMO.
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