Last May I wrote a piece about the legislation banning the consumption of horse meat here in New Jersey.

A piece for which I took an on-line beating from horse lovers everywhere.

The legislation that passed was sponsored by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer of Plumstead, in answer to the lifting of the federal ban on the slaughter of horses for consumption.

At the time, I thought that since horse meat is considered a delicacy in many other foreign countries, why ban it.

I still feel that way, despite mine and my wife’s affinity for the animal; and the fact that I wouldn’t eat it myself.

So when the report came out as to the finding of horse meat in Swedish meatballs marketed by Ikea and sold throughout Europe, I thought, “…ok, so we don’t eat horse meat, but is it so unusual for Europeans to eat it?”

I think the answer would be “no, it’s not!”

(And, by the way, who the hell buys Swedish meatballs in Ikea? Do they come with the strange tools and dowels? )

According to this: Swedish furnishings giant Ikea says it is withdrawing meatballs from stores in 21 European countries amid concerns that they could contain horse meat.

Monday's move comes after authorities in the Czech Republic said they had detected horse DNA in tests of 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) packs of frozen meatballs labeled as beef and pork.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told AP that stores in 21 countries using the same Swedish supplier would remove meatballs from their shelves.

She said that includes most European countries, but not Russia and Norway, which use local suppliers. She added that Ikea stores outside Europe are not affected.

Philadelphia (and Elizabeth off Interchange 13A of the Turnpike) is home to one of the chain's home furnishing stores. Horse meat consumption, while rather popular in Europe, has been banned in New Jersey.

Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law in September that prohibits in-state slaughter of horses, transportation of horses to slaughter and the sale of horse meat for human consumption.

"This bi-partisan measure is a nod to our decency and respect for horses in our state, ensuring that no horse is slaughtered in New Jersey for human consumption," Christie said at the time.

New Jersey is one of many states, most notably New Mexico, that has taken the initiative to create state laws against the slaughter of horses for human consumption after a federal ban was lifted in 2011.

"New Jersey does not eat horse meat and our horses will not be taken from the stable to the table," Assemblyman Ronald Dancer said. "The horse is New Jersey's state animal and we appreciate these magnificent animals for their grace and beauty. We do not want them butchered or sold to slaughterhouses in our communities for human consumption."

Although Americans are not known to eat horse meat, many cultures across history have enjoyed its taste.

"People have eaten horse meat for years," Robert Mickel, a Hunterdon County agriculture and livestock agent with Rutgers University told the South Jersey Times in a previous interview.

"You go to Europe and it's still a major item on menus."

Their problem was in the labeling, not saying horse meat on the packaging.
So I'm wondering if it would have been a big deal to them had the packaging said "horse meat" instead of beef or pork.

And even though here in America, we may not eat it; nor I nor my wife; would you give it a try?

Me, no…difficult enough to go riding on one and not think the beast could be turned into a bracciole.

And besides, my wife would kill me!