Would You Eat Horse Meat? — Understanding Cross-Cultural Food Taboos

When we hear the words “food taboo,” we often conjure up horrifying thoughts of eating dogs or horses; you may gag, or your skin could crawl, at the idea of consuming animals which many Americans would consider members of the family. Yet ask someone from Salento, Italy, about their opinions on horse meat, and they may enthusiastically reply that it’s a delicacy often featured in dishes like pezzetti di carne al pomodoro. 
As food is becoming globalized, more countries are adopting what I would call the Universal Modern Cuisine — the diet most prominent in America, which revolves around grains and which, more importantly, holds many taboos against meat. As a result of this, the practice of eating horse meat is slowly declining, even in Italy. Regardless, Italy still remains the largest consumer of horse meat in the European Union, and its consumption is much more normalized in Italy than in the U.S. Given horse meat’s prevalence in Italy, it’s clearly enjoyable for many and must not have any adverse health effects for the consumer — yet most Americans would be extremely wary of any restaurant advertising this delicacy. Since we have already established that there is nothing inherently unhealthy or dangerous associated with eating horse meat, why do millions of people still avoid it for seemingly no reason?

Cornell Vets Save ‘Mabel’ the Chihuahua

When Mabel — a 16-year-old Chihuahua and longtime patient of Cornell Hospital for Animals — lay close to death while in transit back to the University for treatment in June, small-animal surgery resident Dr. Jared Baum carried out a house call, which extends outside of his expected role. He drove 90 minutes from campus at night to assist her.

Cornell Vet School Researchers Publish Largest Ever Study of Dog Genetics

Cornell researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine have recently published the largest genetic study of dogs to ever be completed. Adam Boyko, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, is the senior author of the paper. He said this study would not have been possible without the Cornell Veterinary Biobank, a collection of samples that includes the DNA of over 10,000 dogs from around the world. “It’s a really great resource for research,” Boyko said. “If you need to get sample sizes that are beyond the capabilities of your lab, you can use the resources that [the biobank] has and much more quickly scale up studies to help you make discoveries.”

Because the researchers had access to the biobank’s samples, they were able to design a study that was vastly different from most genetic analyses of dogs, according to Boyko.