Cure served the horse meat as part of a collaboration with chefs from Canada, where it’s far more socially acceptable to eat horses. The decadent menu for that evening, entitled “Beast & Home of the Brave,” listed the horse tartare alongside oyster, lobster, and elk dishes.
But animal lovers in the area say that in America, people still think of horses as pets, and that they have no place on our dinner plates.
“We now look at horses as companion animals in the same way we look at dogs and cats as companion animals,” Joy Braunstein, a horse welfare advocate who lives in Pittsburgh, told the local news station WPXI. She said that she was “shocked and outraged” to find out that a local restaurant had served what seems to us like an exotic meat.
Braunstein may have a right to be upset, but there’s no law in Pennsylvania that prevents restaurants from serving horse meat – or in fact anywhere in the United States. The ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption expired in 2011 and has not been restored.
Facing social media backlash, Cure released a statement regarding their choice to serve horse meat.
“On Monday night we hosted a collaborative dinner with chefs from Canada, a Quebecois feast. One of the courses included horse tartare, which is traditional Quebecois. It was sourced from a sustainable horse farm in Alberta, Canada. This dish was available for one night only and it is not part of the Cure menu,” it read.
Braunstein was at the center of another controversy earlier this the year: She decided to resign from her post as the head of the Western PA Humane Society, after an online petition began circulating demanding her removal, alleging that she bought a collie puppy from a mill, rather than adopt a dog from the shelter. Soon after, her supporters launch their own counter-petition on her behalf, celebrating her work at the humane society, but she still decided to step down.
Since the incident at Cure, Braunstein has started yet another online petition, this time directed at the governor of Pennsylvania, demanding that the state enact laws banning restaurants from serving horse. It currently has 991 signatures.