Munching on horse doesn't seem to be appealing to the average consumer of burgers and ready meals...apparently the sales of such items has dropped drastically and there's been a sharp rise in the number of products containing Quorn. It's a fungus in case you were wondering, without much of a taste of its own, but it readily absorbs flavours and is much used as a meat substitute by vegetarians. It can be bought in chunks or as mince and used in exactly the same way as dead cow for Bolognese, shepherd's pie etc without any unforeseen ingredients...like horse, connective tissue and gristle. Not to mention any medications the dead cow has been eating in its food which might well be ideal for a cow but not for you. No-one has to stun Quorn and cut its throat either which is quite good to know...

I have to confess to being amused by those who raised their hands in horror at the thought of eating horse, but continued to eat beef, lamb and pork.

The person who recently called me stupid because I put my point of view across about what I felt were overly emotive writings on putting unwanted dogs down, didn't ever respond to my thought that if you call yourself an animal lover and go all gooey over a photograph of a dear little kitten and then sit down to a supper of lamb chops you can't...not if you are being honest with yourself...say you are 'an animal lover'.

And I'm aware that buying a neatly wrapped package of bright scarlet meat laid on a polystyrene tray doesn't bear any resemblance to the beast who leans over a farm fence and dribbles when you stop and talk to it...neither do the lamb chops bear any similarity to those little woolly creatures bounding round a green field bawling Baa when they lose sight of their mothers...

We, as humans, are designed to eat meat. We are intended to be carnivores. But the days have long gone when each animal slaughtered for food was treated with a modicum of respect for the ultimate sacrifice it was making so a human could eat.

Modern beef in particular, is all too often chewy and virtually indigestible...it is the huge surge of adrenalin coursing through the animal's body when it smells fear from its fellows which makes meat tough. 'The housewife' doesn't care for tough beef so it is injected with tenderisers to make it cook more quickly and be less chewy for those who no longer have their own teeth.

Next time you buy an oven-ready chicken have a good look at its legs and wings...especially if it came from the 'budget range'...the chances are you'll see bruising in the form of darker skin where dark skin ought not to be. That will have come from the day when the chicken was caught by a gang of chicken catchers drawn from the lower group of society...grabbing chickens by one leg and then another and another and another until both hands are holding five chickens at a time when they are thrown into small cages on an over- crowded lorry. Shoved and pushed in together regardless of whether or not one has its leg or wing stuck between the bars...

Chicken slaughter is probably the cruellest of all mass food products...dipped into electric baths...and then scalding water regardless of whether or not they are dead...

The same occurs with ducks and turkeys...

The life of any intensively bred animal is miserable from the time they are born...then their life ends badly at the hands of people who are hardened by endless hours on the killing lines.

There is no easy answer...people have to be fed efficiently and food needs to be readily available at a reasonable cost to the consumer. But, we produce more food than we need and more food than we can ever actually consume. Maybe some sort of balance will happen in the future...perhaps people will begin to eat less...not just meat but other foodstuffs as well so we are no longer slaves to snacks and titbits which we don't need.

Just maybe there will come a time when slaughter houses are run with a degree of compassion and care, when foodstuffs fed to farm animals don't automatically contain antibiotics and growth enhancers. It is happening slowly...we can buy a plain chicken ration now which says it contains absolutely nothing in the way of any medication. Even the amount of molasses in the donkey feed has been cut...

But intensive farming still exists and will continue to do so for a very long time yet...change happens slowly...once it begins to dawn on us we do not have the given right to treat animals...whether next doors cat or the bullock in the field opposite... with anything less than a degree of respect and kindness... we'll carry on eating mass produced foods and continue to make a connection between the cow in the field or the lamb in spring with our neatly packaged plastic tray bearing tonight's supper.