Human beings and horses share a long journey together. In the beginning, horses were work animals, or served as means of transport in agriculture and war. Today horses are companion animals, and there is a moral status to them: they are used for recreation, in competitions and for specific medical treatments.
In 1948 Heleen Peeters’ grandfather started a business in an area that for many today is considered taboo: horse meat. At that time the population was poverty-stricken, recovering from the crisis following the Second World War, and horse meat was in great demand, being a quality product at an affordable price. Today, 70 years after that day, the consumption and production of meat is almost disappearing.
Peeters extensively documents the horse culture in Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay, Kyrgyzstan, the United States and Canada. Why is horse meat becoming less popular? What happens to horses if they are no longer eaten? How do we relate to animals when we do not eat them? And when we do eat them? And what about the need to reduce our meat consumption?
The book opens with beautiful images of free horses in the prairies, archive photos that tell the story of the relationship between man and animal throughout history. It then takes us inside slaughterhouses, where the industrial production of meat takes place, asking us unequivocally and violently what position we want to take with regard to this kind of consumption. The work expands, examining the consumption of meat, not only horse meat, as a political attitude of participation or not in the climate and social crisis we are witnessing.