THE response to the discovery of horse meat in supermarket burgers would be comical if the potential effects on farmers were not so tragic.
And we’re not just talking about the wags on Twitter who have been “flogging a dead horse” with their endless jokes about “My Lidl Pony”.
Perhaps there should be an investigation into the original source of the report that “a woman was taken to hospital after eating horse meat – and her condition was found to be stable.”
On Morning Ireland, Raymond Ellard of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, had a simple explanation for why more than one in three burgers sampled in tests had traces of horse DNA.
“More than likely it was accidental,” he explained.
Yes, we can see how that could happen so easily.
A horse is innocently trotting by a slaughterhouse somewhere foreign, with his fetlocks swinging, and all of a sudden he stumbles into a mincing machine.
In the midst of the crisis, Paul Finnerty, the man from one of the meat processors ABP Foods, said the discovery of horse meat in burgers was “disappointing”.
Mr Finnerty sounded like he was auditioning for a critic’s slot on RTE’s The Restaurant.
One half expected him to complain that the burgers were “a little underdone”, or that he would have preferred “a little more pepper”.
One can only imagine how these chaps would react in a nuclear holocaust.
They would probably say the situation was “challenging”, or “unhelpful”.
While the beef industry honchos expressed the hope that exports will not be hit, consumers interviewed on the street by RTE in Galway seemed unfazed by the prospect of hidden nags in their buns.
As one contributor remarked, “You’re taking a chance with a burger at the best of times, but I suppose it should be labelled.”
Another nonchalantly expressed the view that eating horses was nothing.
Impressively, he boasted that he himself had eaten a camel.
As one Twitter commentator @missusvee remarked, “Will that be one hump or two?”