While the horsemeat scandal highlighted the aversion many have to eating horse, Lisa Wisker – the daughter of a horse butcher – says it only boosted business. “The same day the story broke in the newspapers, there were lines down to the corner of the street,” she says. “It was unbelievable.”
Wisker works alongside her father in their Haarlem Noord shop, Slagerij Henk Wisker, which has specialized in horsemeat since her grandfather opened it eighty years ago. You can find everything from horse mince, fillets to award-winning sausages, and meat for stews. “Since the scandal, it has actually become more of a delicacy,” she says. “People are curious.”
She says anyone who tries horse will not miss beef and there’s support for this: In Amsterdam, famed steakhouse Piet de Leeuw admitted last year that it has been selling horsemeat in place of beef since opening in the 1940s. Rather than shut its doors, the restaurant simply revised its menu to indicate they serve horse and business has not slowed.
Because the horsemeat her father’s shop sells comes from fresh, Dutch horses – rather than be imported like the horse you find in supermarkets – Wisker says it’s by far a healthier, better tasting meat alternative to more traditional meats.
“Cows and chickens are raised the same, fed the same things, to reach a certain weight and be slaughtered,” she says. “With horses, these were pets. They were loved. They were fed the best foods and had great lives. A more organic meat, you cannot find.”