My Little Pony Burgers – Fast Food With a Twist

Last month the third annual Food Film Festival took place; a three day festival aiming to gain and share knowledge on a more sustainable food system. Part of the festival was a food court with trucks of street food with a twist, such as ‘De Keuken van het Ongewenste Dier’ (The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal, TKUA).

Starting out as an art project, TKUA questions the eating habits of today’s consumer, that are a bit odd to say the least: most people eat meat that comes from factory farms, but look the other way when they have to face the origin of their cheap burgers. At the same time animals that are being put down for other reasons, but that are perfectly edible and often of better quality, are being discarded of since apparently they are not good enough for us.

These unwanted animals are turned into tasty fast food by TKUA. From invasive species such as crayfish, Japanese oysters and muskrats that threaten local ecosystems to the infamous ‘Schiphol geese’, which circle Holland’s biggest airport and get shot on a daily basis to prevent serious accidents. TKUA turns them into soup, croquettes, and uses their big eggs for omelets. Other animals used are rabbits, pigeons, and deer. But probably the most controversial are their ‘My Little Pony burgers’ made from retired race horse and pony meat.

After the horse meat scandal in Europe, these became even more current. The clever name really sums up the Dutch (and probably European) sentiment towards eating horsemeat: it’s ‘sad’ or ‘wrong’ since it’s considered a noble animal. Yet Dutch horses, as well as the other animals aforementioned, have generally lived a much better life than animals from factory farms. They have received the best food and care, and their meat lacks those nasty hormones and antibiotics. Your typical meat from the grocery store came from an animal that had been treated poorly, lived in a contained space, probably saw little to no daylight, got forcefed and injected with several medications.

So the real question is: would you rather have that horse discarded of and taken to destruction (after which it will be ground up and served to other animals), or taken to the butcher after which it will be turned into a hearty meal by loving hands?

Anneloes Bakker