Europe’s horse meat beef

“Oscar Wilde” writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday). Horse meat may be here, but kangaroo is more likely. What is hidden for most Australians is how much mutton, i.e. old sheep meat, from all those animals killed after producing wool for a few years, is used.

Australian “meat” pies and sausage rolls, the deep dried fast food products (dim sims, chiko and spring rolls etc) and large range of smallgoods (especially hotdogs) contain great volumes of mutton, yet if you ask most Aussies if they have ever eaten mutton they would likely say “no”.

There might be a few old style country butchers still offering mutton for sale, but most are in the bulk commercial market.

Not a health issue I guess, as they all go through regulated abattoirs, but surely a consumer issue. Any product in this country that states “meat” rather than specifically using beef, pork or chicken will have mutton as its main meat content. There is a price impact — mutton is very cheap for the manufacturers and they would not want accurate labelling as they then might confront the permeate type problem.

Then again Australia also uses large amounts of what the industry calls lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) or what is known as “pink slime“.

Almost all our pork and many other meats are injected with polysaccharides or hydrocolloids and phosphates — used to retain water (or hold added water) since meat is sold by weight and holding water has a great financial incentive. The science has been focused on making sure not too much leaks out when cooking so consumers don’t notice.

Gotta love food science. Big agribusiness does …

Barbara Preston writes: Assuming the “horse meat for beef” story is true, surely the real story is why the horses have been going to the slaughter houses, and what has become of their former owners, who may no longer be able to earn a livelihood or maintain social lives as they used to? The ban has only recently been enforced (and the “horse meat for beef” may not be from now-banned cart-drawing horses …) but still nothing on the lives of those who used to ride on horse-drawn carts in Romania.

John Mair writes: I remember an old Bushie telling me one night many years ago over the campfire something I have never forgotten: “Son, if man could ride the cow; he’d eat the horse.” I have to say I agree with him …

Guilt over Aboriginal abuses

Shirley Colless writes: Re. “Speeches aside, Aboriginal recognition requires actual leadership” (yesterday). I note that Tony Abbott said we should not feel guilty about what happened in the past. I find this strange. Abbott is a practising Roman Catholic, and surely, in all the varieties of Christian worship and life it is necessary for one to acknowledge guilt in the rite of confession, whether in private to a priest or in the midst of one’s congregation, before the redeeming power of God’s forgiveness in love, mercy and justice can be accepted.

As a practising Christian I know that, not directly but in many ways indirectly, I carry a load of guilt for what the injuries, the murders, the destruction of community, lore and way of life, my forebears, dating back to 1797, have committed against the original peoples, not only in New South Wales but all over Australia. I have to accept responsibility for what my forebears did, whether they did it intentionally or unintentionally. I need to acknowledge that — and so I do. I too am guilty. I too confess. I ask that I be forgiven, not just by the God I worship but also by the survivors, the incredible survivors, of the original inhabitants of this wonderful land we can share.

Hinch’s TV comeback

Derryn Hinch writes: Re. “Glenn Dyer’s TV ratings” (Tuesday). To answer Glenn Dyer’s question about my first appearance on the revamped Today Tonight: “…why have Derryn Hinch go through an out-of-date, highly publicised court case in his new regular segment?”.

For starters, the case is back in the news because the federal government has now decided it sets such a precedent that it’s appealing the decision to the High Court.

Dyer: “viewers just didn’t bite on night one”. They did on night two. Thanks for watching.