There has been some controversy this week regarding the serving of horse meat on a dinner menu at a well-regarded inner-city French restaurant. Around twenty protestors were outside the restaurant on Tuesday evening, picketing and chanting protests under police supervision.

Nonetheless, the dinner was very well-received by the attending guests and otherwise, went off without a hitch.

Interestingly, the rearing of horse for human consumption in Australia has been met with contention recently despite the fact it has been done since the 1970s.

According to the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestries, around 40 000 horses are slaughtered annually for export.

In France horse meat is bought from specialist butchers, not because the meat is a gourmet product but because some meat had been sold as beef the past, though the most common use of horse flesh is in pet food.

In 2006/07 figures show that 2 320 tonnes of horse meat was exported from Australia to fourteen countries with the majority going to Russia (48%), Switzerland (15%), Belgium (14%) and France (11%).

The recent legalisation of horse meat for human consumption in Australia may suggest that its appearance on menus and in food retailers is inevitable.