Kevin Arnott, Interim President of the Flat Earth Society, Hemel Hempstead Chapter, has added his reedy voice to the clamour of complaints about horse-meat in ready meals. “Traces of horse-meat have been found”, he said, “in budget burgers, frozen lasagne, cracks in the pavement, beneath the rim of toilet bowls, in newspaper editorials, withdrawals from sperm banks, belly button fluff and the tear-ducts of our children’s eyes. It’s a nightmare, and foreigners and other low-life scum are to blame. Their food standards are non-existant, and they talk funny.
“It’s hard to believe now, but just a few short weeks ago the meat in budget beefburgers was prime British steak: sirloin or fillet and probably organic. Minced to a pleasing consistency, and seasoned with herbs and spices, British beefburgers were a tasty and nutritious feast for all the family. Consumers knew that no matter how little they paid for their burgers - maybe just 10 for 99p, on special offer at Iceland, or a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal at Lidl - they were buying horse-free, meaty goodness of the finest possible quality.
“British abattoirs and slaughterhouses are cheerful places, where highly-trained and motivated staff treat the animals that pass through their hands with the utmost respect. Cattle queue up in an orderly fashion, happy to sacrifice themselves to the greater good of putting wholesome food on the nation’s dining tables. If they could talk, they’d beg to be eaten. Background music - something soothing by the James Last Orchestra, say, or a ballad by Dido - helps them relax as they wait for a merciful deliverance.
“Foreign meat processing plants, on the other hand, are penitentiaries of pain and punishment, where animals are routinely tortured just for the hell of it. Some pretentious ‘ambient‘ twaddle by John Michel Jarre is probably the last thing they hear before they get a steel bolt fired through the cranium; no wonder the animals are stressed. Cows, sheep, pigs, horses, dogs, cats, badgers, urban foxes, roadkill, mice, rats and other vermin: they’re all grist to Johnny Foreigner’s mill. If anything falls into the vats of simmering, grey slurry, it’s called ‘seasoning’. And if some Romanian Arthur Daley turns up and offers them a lorry-load of condemned meat, he gets a substantial back-hander and told just to ‘tip it in’.
“This latest controversy has backed reputable British food manufacturers like Findus into a corner, forcing them to re-configure their range of ready meals in fun, ‘Guess the mystery meat’ packaging, with prizes for customers who guess correctly. Let’s hope we’ll see the day when our bangers and burgers are made once again from lean cuts of British beef, adulterated with nothing more unpalatable than mild xenophobia”...