A horsemeat snack is being launched as a healthy high protein food for fitness fanatics.
The ‘A Bag of Horse’ snack is a form of biltong, which is normally made from beef, and has just 114 calories in a 50g pack.
The snack is made in Belgium from Belgian horses and is being promoted as a far healthier option than a pack of crisps by the specialist retailer MuscleFood.com.
Last year, millions of Britons were disgusted to discover that leading supermarkets and fast food outlets had been selling beefburgers that turned out to contain a high percentage of horse.
People were alarmed to find they had been misled, while the discovery lifted the lid on a much wider problem of food fraud.
Fancy eating a horse? Dartmoor Hill Pony Association has suggested that a viable market in pony meat for human consumption is the only way to save the species. Sausages made out of pony meat are also pictured.
Subsequently, some chefs, horse lovers and even the Princess Royal suggested eating horse should be embraced by way of promoting a market in the meat and improving animal welfare.
A spokesman for the web store said: ‘Customers are being urged to reach for a bag of horse rather than a packet of crisps, due to its excellent nutritional and health benefits.
Darren Beale, a director at the firm, said: ‘More and more people are eating horse as part of their balanced diet. I would even go as far as saying it is now acceptable and has lost its stigma’
‘The standard 50g packet of biltong, which is similar in texture to beef jerky, contains just 114 calories. This is less than half the calories of packet of plain crisps of the same size, 263 calories.’
The packets also contains 21g of protein, 2.85g of carbohydrates and just 2.1g of fat, which is healthier mix that the 3.05g protein, 25.75g carbohydrates and 15.9g fat found in a standard bag of crisps.
The biltong is made by marinating horse steaks in black pepper, coriander and vinegar, before it is hung to air-dry in a controlled environment as part of a curing process.
Darren Beale, a director at the firm, said: ‘More and more people are eating horse as part of their balanced diet. I would even go as far as saying it is now acceptable and has lost its stigma.
‘The horse biltong is delicious. Like jerky, biltong is chewy however unlike the beef one, it is moister and has a sweeter flavour. Also because they take longer to eat as well as being high in protein, they will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
‘People are becoming far more adventurous when it comes to trying different meat. For many, as long as it is humanly and sustainably sourced they are prepared to give it a go.’
He added: ‘Far too often when people are peckish they reach for something unhealthy such as a packet of crisps or chocolate biscuits. We say they should reach for a bag of horse – it’s certainly the healthier option.’
The Princess Royal appeared to give her support to eating horses in a speech to the World Horse Welfare charity last year. She suggested owners might take better care of their horses if they believed they could sell them for meat.
Just last month the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association (DHPA) said it believed the best way to save herds on the ancient moorland is by putting them on the menu in restaurants and homes, which would give them a value.
Founder of the DHPA, Charlotte Faulkner said herders would only continue to keep the animals if there was a ‘sustainable market’ for them.
Unusual dish: Dartmoor Hill Pony Association founder Charlotte Faulkner with a plate full of roast Dartmoor pony meat on her farm in Devon
In a letter proposing the idea sent to South West Equine Protection (SWEP), she said: ‘I am writing to ask whether SWEP would consider giving measured support to this understandably upsetting subject, which as pony lovers we find so hard to accept.
‘It has taken years of considering reports and listening to the outcome of meetings to recognise and reluctantly accept that Dartmoor pony herders will only carry on keeping their herds if they have a sustainable market for them.’
She said a meat trade would encourage herders to keep the young ponies for at least three years, which is the earliest they could be slaughtered for meat.