It says everything that it took the Taiwanese animators to make the most fair-and-balanced sense of the cheval scandale. As someone who spends way too much time reading and not nearly enough writing, I already knew the issue was complicated. With hearts bleeding for ducks allowed to gorge to their guts’ content, everyone assumes inhumanity is involved in turning Seabiscuit into supper. But forcing the poor animals to be trucked out of the country for slaughter sounds far more traumatic to me. (Not that I’m whinnying, but the longest, hardest day of my life was the one spent getting from a hospital in Torino to our apartment in New York on a broken femur — and I had warm nuts in business class to ease me through it.) It’s fascinating to see people who happily eat cheap pork from abused hogs worrying about a protein many cultures regard as perfectly acceptable, even commanding a premium. I’ve tasted it only once*, the first time my too-curious consort insisted on ordering it, in a swanky restaurant in Florence where it was served in thin shreds as an expensive appetizer. I remember it was surprisingly good. But mostly I remember that the waiter kept wiping his oily nose and I later developed what felt like a particularly brutal form of bird flu. I would say “sick as a dog,” but that would be dinner in other cultures. Cooked at fever temp.
*Amended after a long walk: I remember I tasted it again, also in Italy, in Treviso, on bruschetta. And definitely not priced like dog food.