Is horse meat on the menu in Horsham?

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A concerned Horsham resident who feared horse was on the menu has been reassured by Horsham District Council (HDC).

Ciba Shanae wrote to the local authority searching for answers as to whether or not horse meat is being sold in the town centre.

She also put pen to paper for a letter to the Queen, Horsham MP Francis Maude and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The sale of such meat is not illegal, but in recent weeks HDC has moved to not only reassure Ms Shanae that horse meat is not available, but stamp out any type of promotional material displayed or distributed around the town centre.

In response to a letter, Paul Hobbs, principal environmental health officer, said: “It is not illegal for such a sale to take place providing the meat is sourced from a licensed producer and all appropriate legislation has been adhered to.

“I can assure you that on no account do Horsham District Council and Horsham Town Centre Market Team permit market traders to sell horse meat from the market due to the sensitive nature of this issue.”

In a separate letter, he continued: “The council and Horsham Market management team have not only requested that horse meat is not sold directly from the market but we have also asked that no promotional material is displayed or distributed.

“I have asked the market management team to monitor this.”

He added: “I have spoken at length with the market management team regarding this issue. In future all new traders will be asked what commodities they intend to sell and they will be advised of our stance on sales of horse meat.”

The animal lover even approached Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen for her views regarding the status of the horse, but to no avail.

A spokesperson even apologised for sending a ‘disappointing’ reply.

“We’re talking about an animal which has served humans throughout history like a family member, you can still tie your horse up outside a pub while you go in for a drink,” Ms Shanae told the County Times.

Sonia Bonici, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace, replied: “Careful note has been taken of your comments, although I should explain that The Queen has made it a rule not to let her personal views or opinions be known.

“I am sorry to send you a disappointing reply.”

Richard Wood, of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “There is no law to prevent horse and donkey meat being sold, just as there is no law to say it must be sold. Horse and donkey meat may be sold if there are people who wish to buy it, and be labelled so that people who do not wish to buy it need not do so . Horse and donkey meat are subject to the same meat hygiene rules as all other meat that is sold as food.”