Google search results show horse meat becoming less taboo
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If Google is to be believed, the recent horse meat scandal in Europe has generated more curiosity than controversy.
Searches for "horse meat recipes" spiked dramatically following news that horse meat disguised as beef had been sold across Europe, including Britain and France.
Search volume was highest in countries like England, Australia and the U.S., suggesting that taboos around eating horses may be softening in English-speaking countries.
In Canada, searches for "horse recipe" have been generally trending upward since 2008, reaching an all-time high this February. Volumes were highest in Alberta, perhaps indicating that cattle country is developing a taste for horses.
"It's worth pointing out that this data shows users are searching for recipes for horse food, not only recipes for food made of horse. But the correlation between events in Europe and this sudden rise in searches might suggest a move from the stable to the table," said Google Canada spokesperson Aaron Brindle.
The interdict around consuming horses in the West is believed to date back to 732 A.D., when Pope Gregory III banned the practice as a way of curbing pagan rituals.
The 2008 Alberta Horse Welfare Report found that horse was most commonly eaten in China, Mexico, Russia, Italy, and Kazakhstan. In 2010, those countries reportedly produced over 400,000 tonnes of horse meat.