Switzerland’s official inventory of culinary heritage has a new listing: horsemeat.
As the Culinary Heritage Associationexternal link announced on Friday, this form of flesh is not without controversy – “comparable to eating dogs or cats” for those who see horses as companion animals.
However, it said that Swiss consumption of horsemeat had increased after the French Revolution, when France revoked its ban on the meat. Horsemeat became cheaper than beef as horses were less needed for riding and pulling carriages.
“For centuries, the horse was too valuable to end up on the slaughterhouse floor,” notes the association, adding that a horse eats more than a cow, uses the feed less efficiently and consumes more energy.
Initiated by the federal government, the Culinary Heritage Association has an inventory listing 400 products, including salt, Alpine cheese from Glarus and rye bread from Valais.
Horsemeat and cheese from canton Jura were added at the end of this year. For a product to be included, it must, among other things, have been passed on from at least one generation to the next, and have been produced continuously for 40 years.
In recent years there have been scandals involving mistreated horses and mislabelled meat.