It is not a good time to be a racehorse in Italy. Many Italians already had a taste for cavallo, but with the economy dipping and people staying away from the races, horse steaks, stews and cutlets are a set feature on many more menus.
As the bets dry up, and with many of the traditional New Year’s Day meetings cancelled for only the third time since the Second World War, the Italian press has been full of reports suggesting that many of Italy’s 15,000 racehorses could face a one-way trot to the butcher’s shop. Last weekend, 200 officials and horse owners from the Agnano hippodrome carted their animals around the streets of Naples in protest at the crisis affecting their industry. In the north of Italy, the racecourses in Bologna and Cesena closed at the end of the year without knowing when, or if, they will reopen.