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Johannesburg - Hey, you.
Yes. YOU. You ranting and railing, disgusted, donkey-discriminating Consumer. I have a meaty bone to pick with you.
Since a Stellenbosch study identified donkey, goat and water buffalo in so-called cow patties last week, I’ve been hearing burger boycotts from all over.
But tell me, what is it about the humble Eeyore that puts him beyond your palate?
“You’re missing the point!” you wail. “We consumers have a right! A right to honest labelling! A right to know! Right to choose!”
And you’re right. You do. So let’s assume the meat is correctly labelled.
Let’s assume you pick up your packet of patties and – as, of course, you always do – you thoroughly inspect the exact ingredients listed.
“Mince,” it reads. “50 percent beef. 10 percent donkey. 10 percent goat. 5 percent water buffalo. 5 percent dust and human hair. 10 percent hormones. 10 percent additives and preservatives that keep this all looking pink and fresh far longer than natural.”
You reel, flinging the offending flesh away from you.
“Donkey? DONKEY?” you cry, and rummage through the meat mounds until you find one that is simply dead cow, placing it in your trolley next to the salt-slathered chips and sugar-coated breakfast cereal.
Why have you decided that the wholesale slaughter of certain animals is spot on, but that dead donkey is just… icky?
Never mind that you didn’t notice it at all until someone pointed it out to you.
If you’re going to be self-righteously indignant about perhaps being made to accidentally consume donkey – or goat, or water buffalo, or pig – why not do it for all the “contaminants” mentioned?
Why, I implore you, are we not outraged about soya? I for one am appalled that my donkey-cow meat is being tainted by this bizarre bean.
How dare they!
This is not a rant promoting veganism, nor is it by way of an excuse for the duping of consumers by suppliers. But let’s not pretend that your Consumer Rights were your primary concern when you read the news.
The mislabelling of these products carries serious concerns, say the researchers.
Religious concerns, for those who may have accidentally consumed pork. The inclusion of gluten, which may cause allergies for others.
But let’s also remember that this information didn’t come about because of people having hyperallergic reactions to gluten or falling ill from diseased meat.
Instead, let’s honestly confront the ease with which we accept the killing and eating certain animals.
Let’s get rid of this notion that it’s gumdrops and roses and mittens on kittens when a cow or a chicken or a sheep or a pig is killed.
If the thought of eating donkey disgusts you, then so, too, should eating the flesh of any animal.
I for one intend to throw a pack of patties on the braai this weekend.
And I’m willing to bet they’ll be just as delicious as ever.