Up until recently, South Korean production of horse meat has been relatively low (relative to other countries and Canada) but according to the Korea Observer, the number of horses slaughter has tripled, up to 1,036 in 2014. The fact that the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs is promoting the consumption of horse meat, along with horse meat recipes and tasting events will no doubt be something that the Canadian government plans to exploit as well. As per the Canada/Korea Free Trade Agreement, all exported equine meat, skins and hair products are completely without tariffs. In Korea, it is also common to eat raw horse meat. Apparently the Koreans are not fully cognizant of the risks with raw meat:
“The most important thing at this moment is to increase the supply of horse meat.”
An official at the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency claims that horses are slaughtered in the same manner as cows and he sees no reason that horses should be treated differently from other animals that people eat.
Of course, Korean animal rights groups, oppose the slaughter. The Korean Animal Welfare Association objects on the basis that horses are a species that bonds with humans, so consuming horse meat creates uneasiness amongst many people.
“We knock out horses with the same hammer that we use for cows. Things may get a little messy if they do not pass out at the first blow. Once they faint, we shoot a metal rod into their brain.”
The South Koreans are also busy ramping up the markets for donkey milk and horse “oil.” It’s clear from their descriptions of the perceived usefulness of these products that they are relying on pseudoscience when they proclaim that horse “oil” has healing and sterilizing properties. In fact, the so-called benefits of horse “oil” sounds similar to many other eastern remedies that are not supported by science-based medicine, including “snail slime” and “pig collagen” facial treatments, also popular in Korea and elsewhere.