An Economic Explanation for the Horsemeat Scandal

From the Independent:

A law banning horses from Romanian roads may be responsible for the surge in the fraudulent sale of horsemeat on the European beef market, a French politician said yesterday.

Horse-drawn carts were a common form of transport for centuries in Romania, but hundreds of thousands of the animals are feared to have been sent to the abattoir after the change in road rules.

The law, which was passed six years ago but only enforced recently, also banned carts drawn by donkeys, leading to speculation among food-industry officials in France that some of the “horse meat” which has turned up on supermarket shelves in Britain, France and Sweden may, in fact, turn out to be donkey meat. “Horses have been banned from Romanian roads and millions of animals have been sent to the slaughterhouse,” said Jose Bove, a veteran campaigner for small farmers who is now vice-president of the European Parliament agriculture committee.


Christina

Oh my..

RGJ

Is this a draft?

L.S.

It's a really sad situation; to my shame, I was totally unaware of the law when it was under public debate - otherwise, I'd have lobbied against it. It lead to so many devastated lives - many of those who have horse and carts cannot afford or don't want to get to the fossil fuel counterpart. I would have preferred a horse to a car, as I wouldn't have to worry about oil spills, wars and oil prices. At least in my part of Romania, donkeys are very rare.

Mike B

I'll get the law was hailed by animal rights activists as a way to prevent the abuse of horses being forced to pull carts. Derp.

James

I can't help but wonder whether the horsemeat "scandal" would be such a scandal if traces of mutton were found in the burgers.

Anyway, I'm glad I live in a place that's not only uncivilized enough to allow horses on the roads, but is even courteous enough to post warning signs...

Corina

The law was given 6 years ago, and it has been reinforced since than. If minced meat were to come from those horses would have happened much earlier. Plus what the law said, was to ban the use of horses from the paved roads where the carts would actually damage the roads and slow down the traffic. The horses and corresponding carts were not banned from the country(dirt) or forest roads. Therefor, not that many animals had to be sacrificed.
This comes from someone leaving in Romania.
I am so disappointed in the level of research Jose Bove did, before forming such accusations.

Oliver

I can't say I buy into this too much. If you compare ONS CPI indices for the price of a pack of frozen burgers (processed) and a cut of beef, they are very much in line until roughly a year or two after the food price rise in early 2008. Following the rise in the cost of beef the price of a pack of frozen burgers appears to have de-coupled. How? Perhaps horsemeat is the answer - which would suggest that it has been going on since 2009 and cannot be the result of this legislation, which was only enacted recently.