When you can look an animal in its face, raise it, treat it well, and then slaughter it, you know what you are getting on your plate. In 2013, this knowledge of your food is easier on the local level and much more difficult on a world scale.
Countries that don't like to eat horse meat have the right to not get horse meat if they choose to do so. Those buying fish should get what they pay for. And clearly, this isn't happening.
In the United States, we could laugh at the saga going on in Europe, but with the mix of meat that passes for "beef" in our country, we literally don't know what we are eating.
Even for those who resolve to eat only local and only animals that they know, they and everybody else should be alarmed that we don't know what we are eating.
I voluntarily choose to not eat veal. If I choose to change my mind about veal, that is my choice. I have the freedom to eat veal or not eat veal. If someone came along to put veal into what is supposed to be beef, I would consider that a violation.
Even if you aren't a vegetarian, you should feel for Indians who were horrified to discover that McDonald's French fries were cooked in beef tallow.
Some countries in Europe eat horse. On the North American continent, you can find horse meat in Quebec in Canada. So the issue isn't eating horse; this is about wanting beef and getting something else. If you can find horse in your beef, you might find beef in your horse.
Even Reese's peanut butter cups acknowledge that they contain peanut butter and chocolate.
Companies list potential allergens because certain foods can trigger allergies even if there is a possible connection. In these troubling times, we could extend the concept: "This beef product may have come in contact with horse, and by come in contact, we mean some horse might be in your beef."
These cases involved suppliers; it's not like Burger King grows its own cows. The more hands that get on food, the more likely something such as this can happen. Local has the advantage of involving fewer hands.
In this post-regulation world, the trick is making food as cheap as possible, regardless of quality, ingredients, and basic decent common sense. While those who try and keep their food pure are often chastised for their extreme attitude, they know what they are eating. That shouldn't be extreme; knowing what is in your food should be the norm.