In the wake of a recent scandal in which horse meat was discovered in meat products labeled as beef in the United Kingdom, University Professor of Letters Kari Weil wrote in The Boston Globe about a debate in 19th-century France over the morality of eating horse meat. Hippophagy, or the eating of horse meat, was not legalized until the late 19th century in France, and only after a “public campaign to override objections very like the ones Americans have today.”
“…the fact that it took so much persuasion to convince the French to consider eating horse—in a dispute that exposed passionate beliefs about public health, animal rights, and social welfare—suggests why we are once again facing a public scandal over hippophagy. At heart, it is an unsettled cultural crisis about which animals we accept as moral to eat,” writes Weil.
Weil is chair of the College of Letters.