What Does Horse Meat Taste Like? You’ll be Surprised! (2024)


It’s not common for people to eat horse meat, at least in the United States. This is because horses have been cherished pets for humans for ages, just like dogs. But have you ever wondered what horse meat tastes like?

Many people say that horse meat has a certain sweet flavor. It’s also gamey and quite like beef. In terms of texture, horse meat has been known to be quite tough.

This is because the meat comes from athletic creatures who move quite a bit.

Keep reading below for more information.

Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other horse-related articles: How Many Acres Of Land Do You Need For Horses? and Does A Horse Eat Meat?.

Is It Legal To Eat Horse Meat?


You may have pondered the question of whether or not it is practical or legal to consume horse meat in the U.S.

If you grew up in the United States, you might have eaten rabbit, squirrel, and even raccoon, and you might also know individuals who have. But it’s unlikely you’ve met a horse meat eater your entire life.

In the USA, eating horse flesh is not illegal. But it’s against the law to market or sell horses as food for the masses.

While there is no federal law that forbids explicitly eating horses, there are state laws that make it illegal to sell or slaughter horses for human consumption.

The United States ban on horse flesh did not always exist. Before 2005, horse meat from slaughterhouses was subject to inspection and regulation by the Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a division of the USDA.

Concerns were raised by animal rights groups about the sale of horse meat in 2005, prompting the government to introduce a fee for horse inspections.

Yet that wasn’t the end; before long, the FSIS was barred from spending money on inspecting horses meant for human consumption.

Horses can’t be sold for human consumption in the United States since there is no market for them, and it is unlawful to sell any meat that the FSIS/USDA doesn’t control due to the risk of food poisoning. The USDA has also placed an international prohibition on the import of horse meat.

Horse meat, however, is a popular delicacy in North American markets like Canada and Mexico. The United States is a major exporter of horses for slaughter.

What Does Horse Meat Taste Like?


You may have eaten something that tastes very similar to a horse if you haven’t been a vegetarian your whole life. It’s not a weird piece of exotic animal, a bland vegetable, or something that “just tastes like chicken.”

However, it has a flavor that is remarkably close to that of beef, another popular meat. The meat of a mare is virtually indistinguishable from that of a common cow.

You would think there would be something else there, like a certain gaminess, a deeper richness, or something special about the meat, but there is none. Certain cuts may be like that, but we can’t say.

All we can say is that it tastes just like a piece of meat, whether it be a steak cooked medium-rare or a burger cooked well done.

The composition of horse meat is where it will stand out from conventional beef. It’s notably thinner than beef and more resembles buffalo or bison in texture. In addition, it is considerably tougher, which is hardly surprising.

As with cows, the more strenuously a muscle is used, the stronger it will eventually become.

As a result, the filet, which accomplishes virtually nothing during the lifetime of a cow, is incredibly tender. Still, the chuck, which continually supports and moves the cow’s tremendous weight, is a relatively tough cut of meat.

Why Is It Frowned Upon to Consume Horse Meat?


The following are some reasons why eating horse meat is frowned upon in the United States.

Long History

The United States owes a great deal to horses, which have played an important role in our history.

Throughout history, they have been utilized for various purposes, including westward expansion, farm labor, entertainment, and companionship.

The strong connection between man and horse makes it difficult to kill it for nourishment. Like a dog, a horse can get very attached to its owner, and while it may be possible to rehome the animal, it should never be sold for slaughter.

This personal connection is at the heart of the American public’s fierce opposition to eating horses. For more than two centuries, horses have been essential to American culture, serving as the backbone of Western riding.

They are considered friendly companions and are treated according to high ethical standards. Horses have made significant contributions to popular entertainment, literature, and academia.

As a result, it’s hard to see anyone considering horses as a source of sustenance. Horse meat is considered as wrong as eating a dog or cat.

Dangerous Medications


A horse will receive numerous medications not permitted for food-producing animals throughout its life. Meat from horses treated with dewormers, antibiotics, and diuretics poses health risks to people.

While it’s true that former racehorses are more likely to be contaminated with dangerous drugs, it’s also true that horses used in other sports or for other purposes are frequently given drugs known to be harmful to humans.

As a result, there are wide-ranging worries about where the meat comes from, whether or not it contains hazardous chemicals, and the treatment the horses receive throughout their development.

Meat from horses that haven’t been inspected and certified by a reputable organization (like the USDA) could be tainted with any number of medicines administered to the horse by its owner.

Human consumption of such substances is risky at best and potentially lethal at worst.

Any horse meat you get in the United States is probably unhealthy because there are no government-recognized means to regulate it.

The Sacred Value of Horses in Culture

There are few animals more culturally and historically emblematic than horses. For over five thousand years, they’ve been instrumental in shaping our culture through art, literature, and athletics.

They are also considered special in spiritual and religious communities.

It is also considered sacrilegious in many religions, including Christianity, to consume horse meat.

In 732 ACE, for example, Pope Gregory III condemned eating horses as irredeemably sinful. That old idea still influences many individuals’ worldviews today.

Which Countries Eat Horse Meat?


While eating horse meat is not common in the United States, it is a delicacy in many other nations. More than five thousand years ago, when the first horses were tamed, they were likely used as a food source by the locals.

Several countries, including Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Japan, China, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Indonesia, Poland, and Iceland, strongly demand horse meat.

Legal requirements and public opinion on eating horse meat differ from country to country. This is especially true in Sweden, Canada, Italy, and Russia.

In many parts of the world, horse farming is a big business. According to one estimate, nearly five million horses are killed annually for human consumption.

Asia accounts for about half of the world’s horse meat production, with the Americas (mostly Mexico) accounting for the remaining 25%.

Most of the world’s horse meat is raised and consumed in China. In 2018, China slaughtered an estimated 1.6 million horses, yielding about 220,100 metric tons of horse meat.

It should be noted, however, that while horse dishes are incredibly popular in some parts of China, many other cultures view horse meat as unhealthy and unappealing.

Though many might balk at the prospect, eating horse meat is a learned taste with undeniable health benefits. Scientists from all around the world agree that the high protein content of horse meat is good for your health.

Horse meat is generally frowned upon in countries with strong religious traditions, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other areas of Asia.

However, in other parts of the world, it serves as a staple and a delicacy. On long expeditions, when other food was scarce, Ghengis Khan’s warriors often survived on horse meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is horse meat in dog food?

Horse meat used to be in dog food, but it is no longer a part of most major corporations’ recipes.

Is horse meat considered red meat?

Red meat generally includes the meat of most mammals, so yes, horse meat is red meat.

What is horse meat called in Canada?

Chevaline, or horse meat, can be found in French-Canadian markets like Montreal.

So What Does Horse Meat Taste Like?


There’s nothing wrong with being curious about what a certain animal would taste like. The only differences between pets and food are socially constructed and vary across countries and cultures.

That being said, some people say you’re not missing out on much by not eating horse meat.

If you find this guide, “What Does Horse Meat Taste Like,” informative and helpful, you can check out these other horse-related articles from our team:

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