It tastes like chicken! – Modern K-state languages

by isaac wingert

This is part of a series of blog posts written by students about studying abroad. Students who participated in our faculty-led summer study abroad program in Spain with Dr. Bender – Spain today: Madrid, Pamplona and the North – wrote a blog post as part of their essay assignment for Spanish 565: Cultures of Spain. We’ll be sharing them here every Wednesday morning, so stay tuned to see the variety of topics they choose to write about. And if you want to get 6 Spanish credits for your major or minor while studying in Spain this summer, check out the information here or contact Dr. Bender with questions.

Good morning! My name is Isaac Wingert and I am currently an undergraduate student in agricultural economics, with an interest in animal science (especially cattle) and market interactions! Due to the second part, I decided my freshman year of minor in spanish to maybe broaden my horizons and open up opportunities to observe how markets work together. It’s not as boring as it sounds, and on a day-to-day basis it comes down to making a few observations about such simple things as the food I eat (and I’m a big fan of eating). In Spain I was lucky enough to cook a great steak, however, it wasn’t your typical grain fed beef steak. It was a horse steak. Potro. And no, it didn’t really taste like chicken. So let me tell you about it.

The horse – a majestic beast that roams the plains and mountains of the Midwest, without any fence, as God intended, right? They do no harm to anyone, and in return we do no harm to them, including harvesting them for meat. BUT, herein lies the big challenge – there are virtually no natural predators of the wild horse on the plains, causing a massive overpopulation problem. In an effort to alleviate this concern, the US government has authorized the Bureau of Land Management to use human means to secure the future of wild horse herds. Yes, this can include fertility measurements, but it normally means capturing these horses and selling them to private individuals to train and use for recreational pursuits, which is often a very good life. However, you don’t see horse meat in grocery store butchers’ checkouts, do you? Why not? They are flesh, blood and bone, just like a cow or a pig, so on a large scale, why aren’t we consuming them as a source of protein?

In the United States, it’s almost taboo to talk or think about animal consumption as a direct result of our culture, our economy, and frankly, our perception of farms and ranches today (more on this shortly). It makes sense to think that the people in a society would dictate the laws of the land and run the markets. If they see something they don’t agree with or find offensive, they don’t buy that good. And, with that background information, while in Spain, with the help of “the Meat Men,” Theresa, Dr. Bender, and a few other highly suspicious test subjects, I dove into the horse markets. In general, I found out that Spain is the biggest producer of horsemeat in Western Europe, and it’s a fairly common practice outside of the United States.. An article written by many public universities in northern Spain claimed that the consumption of “potro” helps boost the Spanish economy, minimize fuel from forest fires and control weeds. Moreover, it helps to control the population, because farmers are defenders of nature and life in general, so they only produce the amount of meat demanded, and consumers help them by buying only what they will eat. without waste. Therefore, Spain is struggling with the same problem that the Bureau of Land Management in the United States is working on, within its own economy, culture and perception of the horse. It was troubling, however, for me anyway, as I needed to know what was unique about their culture and perception to radically reorient their economy in a direction so different from ours (that of non-consumption ).

Well, thanks to the College of Agriculture and a class called Contemporary issues in global food and agricultural systemsI know of a theory in economics that basically tells us that as a person gets richer, their choice of protein shifts from higher quality plants to meat. In fact, the economic well-being of a person or a country can be measured by their consumption of meat. And, yes, it’s a bit of a loop; one can get so rich that the focus shifts from improving protein types and classes to protein quality, origin, and history. The last part of the loop could be considered where we are in the United States. My solution to all of this lies in the fact that Spain and the United States have developed at different rates as nations, and through the uniqueness of how our wealth was accumulated and the simple variations in how progressive generations were brought up resulted in two distinct styles of management by two governments and groups of people participating in their respective societies.

Now that you’ve had your lesson in economics, how was the steak, Isaac? The steak was purchased from a butcher who raised, fed and harvested horses locally.

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