‘Beef’burgers – minced ‘beef’, chopped onion and seasoning rolled into a bun shape and squashed flat.
Mixed salad – some leaves ripped off various lettuces and other green stuff (much of it discarded as weeds in your own garden), dipped in a large water tank to ‘wash it’ and placed in a cellophane bag.
Until as recently as the Edwardian era anyone who could afford it employed a variety of staff to undertake the measuring, washing and cooking of their food. There were a few short years when gadgets enabled even well-off women to prepare their own food for the whole family. And then women moved into the workplace en masse and we returned to employing a large staff to prepare our food for us. We share this staff: they are employed by large food companies, and we buy individual portions and warm them up in oven and microwaves.
I can’t imagine what goes through the head of a pancake mix worker as he or she measures out tonnes of plain flour, adds hundredweights of dried egg and, in some cases, hundredweights of milk powder. Do they ever try to imagine what kind of idle useless wonder can’t do this for a ½ pint portion in their own kitchen?
Your average salad bag packer may stop and give the consumer some credit, arguing that to put together a mixed salad of, say, five different leaves would involve having to eat a hell of a lot of lettuce before five full sized clumps of weed went off.
And your beef burger, lasagne, faggot and bolognese ‘chef’ ? Seriously, how much respect does the warmer-up of these ‘meals’ really expect some poorly paid little man, who knows that most of us have kitchens full of magical devices for practically every food to be chopped up, smooth-ed, steamed and griddled in its own special machine tucked away in endless rows of cupboards, cupboards only needed to tuck away these machines that none of us actually ever even want to use, to have for Tesco’s customers? (Very long sentence there – you may need to read that one again – slowly this time.) I expect he and his mates will be a bit surprised at all the fuss about which animal he is chucking into his little mixer. And he will care even less about where the dead bits of animal came from.
In a world where mad Americans are shooting children and yet still feel the need to have the right to own guns to defend themselves against their own government, where 14 year old girls are shot for campaigning for the education of girls, a world where hundreds if not thousands of kids are forced to live by scavenging on rubbish tips and churches continue to attempt to defend the institutional and systematic abuse of children, it’s not difficult to get your head around a total lack of respect for animal rights. Circuses, bull-fighting and rodeos are still legal world-wide. So is testing on animals. And whilst illegal, dog-fighting and badger hunting continue to be a source of amusement for sick-minded warped individuals.
Does it really matter that horse meat, a perfectly edible product, has been found in processed ‘beef’ products? Isn’t it no less than the idle or ‘too busy’ deserve? Is it just a matter of not getting what’s on the label? Anyway, horse meat is leaner and cheaper than beef – perhaps we should adopt it as part of our daily diet like our European cousins. It could even address national obesity.
However, none of the above concerns me. What does concern me is the animal welfare. And the safety of the food itself. With reports of some of the horse meat having been generated from as far away as Romania and Poland, and with a clear disregard for laws governing food processing, it is difficult for me to imagine the people involved having much respect for the animals’ living – and dying – conditions, for the health and safety regulations regarding the processing and the transportation of the food – not to mention the working conditions of the employees of the companies and businesses involved. None of which have been discussed in the media yet !