From Horses to Cane Rats: Meat, Moral Panics and Race
The conflation of the horse-meat scandal with both myths about Romanian savagery and ‘Little England’s’ distrust of European bureaucracy were, however, evidently not quite enough to fully titillate the tabloid’s readers. Focussing on the social and symbolic construction of mythologies that hide behind meat-based moral panics in no way implies that there is nothing ‘real’ at the core of these conspicuously public issues. Equine meat is eaten across the European continent. And as a major exporter of meat to the United Kingdom, if contamination with horse meat is allowed to happen, it would likely be somewhere in Europe. Lethal contagions could conceivably arrive by way of the transnational trade in illegal meat. Both the horse meat scandal and the ‘problem’ of bush-meat are real issues, objective facts amenable to a degree of quantification, measurement and risk calculation. Stories about bush-meat at Ridley Road first came to public awareness through a spate of national journalistic interest between 2001 and 2006.