Can you eat horse meat?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat horse meat?”. Including this, we will also talk about horses and different types of horses, where they are located. We will also talk about which areas of the world horses are legal for eating purposes and the advantages and disadvantages of eating.

Can you eat horse meat?

Yea, you can eat horse meat as it is edible. But there are certain countries where eating horse meat is not allowed and is illegal. On the other hand, there are many countries where horse meat is liked by the people and is used in many dishes.

Horse meat contains some poisonous substances. It is not illegal to eat horse meat but there should be some quality control checks which are the basis that either the meat is suitable to eat or not. Due to these quality control checks, horse meat is not considered a suitable food to eat but still, it is not illegal or prohibited.

What is horse meat?

The horse is an animal which is present in almost all parts of the world and is liked by the people. It is being used for sports as well as people keep them as their pet animal.

The meat of the horse is one of the prominent parts of food in different cultures and traditions. It can be used as food in the areas of Europe and Asia, especially. It is estimated that about 4.3 million horses are consumed every year by the people. 

The European Union is one of the biggest consumers of horse meat. It is estimated that about two lack horses are slaughtered every year to create enough meat supply for the European Union.

Along with being the largest consumer of horse meat, the European Union is also the lead importer of animal protein. While all other countries like Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, export horse meat to the European Union in large quantities. 

These countries also export horse meat to the United States, although it is illegal over there. According to research, China is producing the largest number of horse meat as compared to all other countries.

If we talk about ancient times, the horse was hunted and its meat was consumed because it contains a rich amount of proteins. People merely consumed wild horses for the sake of nutrition.

Use of horse meat in different countries

In Japan, people use horsemeat to make a desert named Basashi while the people in Russia have eaten more than 28,000 tons of meat in the last year. The amount of horse meat being consumed by the people of Italy is almost the same as that of people in Russia.

Almost fifty per cent of the horse meat is produced by Italy among all countries of the European Union. The production of horse meat by China is more than 170 tons every year which is for export. This number can reach up to 197 tons as well.

In many countries, horse meat is being consumed by people daily. In a survey that took place in October 2012, almost all people had said that they consume horse meat regularly only 7% of the people said that they consume it often. Of the 20% of people who have said that they sometimes consume horse meat.

44 million pounds of horsemeat is being imported by Belgium every year. Most of the horse meat in Belgium comes from North America. This makes Belgium the largest per capita consumer.

The nutritional profile of horse meat

Even though horse meat is legal in many countries and is socially acceptable, most people are still reluctant to eat horse meat. 

The meat has the highest protein content and lowers fat content along with other nutrients like vitamins; thiamin, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, vitamin B12 and elements like magnesium, phosphorus and iodine.

Side effects of horse meat

Horse meat which is being exported is not safe to be consumed by humans, because various drugs have been given to horses over their lifetime. These drugs include wormers, antibiotics, flu sprays, diuretics and Phenylbutazone

Phenylbutazone was used as a painkiller at one time but now it is prohibited because it has been declared as a carcinogenic compound by USDA and FDA.

All these drugs are present in slaughtered horses along with some other chemicals which are given to animals to be slaughtered and are harmful to humans. Therefore, horse meat is generally not considered safe for consumption.

Other FAQs about Meat that you may be interested in.

Can you eat deer meat rare?

Can you eat frozen meat past its expiration date?

Can you freeze taco meat?


In this article, we have answered the question “Can you eat a horse?’. We have also discussed horse meat; which countries are using horse meat and in which number. We have also discussed the nutritive content of horse meat and its harmful effects.