Jun 262018

In an ongoing attack on Aberdeen Voice and its contributor Suzanne Kelly, Northfield Animal Haven alleged on Facebook that the police were looking into events and had supplied a bundle of documents to Northfield’s owner.  However, the police recently confirmed in writing that this claim by Northfield was a fabrication.  By Suzanne Kelly.

Northfield Animal Haven’s activities have been exposed in previous Aberdeen Voice articles, and the shelter/farm have often used social media to try to throw doubt on the facts exposed.

In one instance, Northfield Animal Haven took to Facebook in September 2016 to claim the police were involved.

The police have just recently confirmed in a two page letter to me that this is completely, totally untrue.

Northfield wrote:

“… finally getting a resolution on that carry-on we have had to endure, spent this afternoon at police station speaking with the officers this so next stage is set in motion hopefully I can update you all about this very soon.”

The post on the Animal business’ Facebook page was accompanied by a photograph of what appears to be a thick bundle of documents with the Police Scotland logo showing, handwriting, and the name of an officer.

The post on the Animal business’s Facebook page was accompanied by a photograph of what appears to be a thick bundle of documents with the Police Scotland logo showing, handwriting, and the name of an officer.

I had been trying to get the police to comment on this bogus-looking documentation and claim for some time.

It is a great vindication that they’ve dismissed Kelly Cable’s/Northfield’s claims entirely.

The police wrote a two-page letter to me on 22 April 2018; the entire contents have been shown to the editors of Aberdeen Voice.

The letter read in part:

“Police Scotland would not permit or allow any private individual to photograph, copy or have access to any Police investigation paperwork without instructions from the Procurator Fiscal.

“I can confirm that this is not a Police Scotland investigation file.”

The letter continued: 

“…he (the police officer whose name appears on the documents pictured on Northfield’s post) has stated that he has in fact had no involvement at any time with the establishment or the person named.”

Ms Cable was asked to explain the bundle of documents and the assertion she had spent an afternoon about a ‘carry on’ at a police station. As per the previous articles, we asked for her to comment on the situation. 

She has refused to explain where the bundle came from and her claim the police were involved.

However, a lawyer from Brodies, which seems about to sue me over my articles, wrote to my lawyer with a demand to stop me writing this or other articles. 

As I explained to my lawyer, I have a right and a responsibility to share factual information that is in the public interest, and I have a freedom of expression guaranteed by EU Human Rights law. People who donate money to any cause should have access to the relevant facts.

Northfield has called me a liar by name on social media. The owner’s father named me in an alleged break-in at the farm that resulted in a pony being overfed to death (NB other animals have died at the business in feeding-related circumstances), and ‘joked’ about using an AK47 to ‘solve’ the problem.

I look forward to hearing from Brodies, which Kelly Cable is briefing about taking me to court, as to how they explain this latest embarrassing deception. I can’t wait to hear what the ‘next stage’ Northfield referred to in their post is.

Clearly Kelly Cable knew she didn’t spend an afternoon in a police station; she knew she didn’t get a bundle of documents from the police, and she knew that this officer Henderson was in no way involved. But someone cooked this story up.

Whoever wrote it did so as a representative of Northfield Animal Haven – and Northfield Animal Haven should be held to account.

I suspect that using a Police Scotland logo as Cable did may well be a criminal action; we’ll see.

If they do take me to court, I have a very strong suspicion who would be believed – and it’s not the convicted benefit fraudster Ms Cable, caught in yet another deception aimed, in my opinion, at making me look bad and deceiving social media visitors to the NAH page about events.

Even the fundraising she created to raise money to sue me seems to be misleading:  I feel an obligation to let people who are giving her money know that this bundle of evidence is a fabrication, disowned by Police Scotland.

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Sep 042015

Kelly Cable of Northfield Animal Haven (Northfield Farm. Glasslaw. New Pitsligo. Aberdeenshire. AB43 6PX) juggles a host of moral dilemmas:

  •  Raises funds to save ‘all farm animals’
  •  Claims to be wholly dependent on public support.
  •  Sells animals destined for slaughter.
  •  Refused to let other animal shelters rescue ponies free of charge – but she is seeking £5,000 from the public to rescue.
  •  A former bankrupt, once denied signing for a £5,000 loan: foiled by forensic handwriting expert.

By Suzanne Kelly.

Northfield Animal Haven Sign

Kelly Cable of Northfield Animal Shelter, Aberdeenshire, seeks funds cap in hand “to provide a rescue/re-homing centre for any unwanted, neglected, abused or retired equine, farm and small animals.”
This laudable aim appears on at least one internet site seeking donations.

A sign for the organisation depicts a wide range of animals including sheep.

What the sign and many fundraising websites didn’t make clear was that Cable also wears a very different hat: she makes money from other farm animals – selling them at auction where they are likely to end up on plates, not in rescue pens.

Websites which initially sought donations for Northfield to save farm animals now have long explanations from the Cables as to their other business. Long, rambling posts by Cable attempt to justify why they save some animals and sell off others at market. Much of this newly-added prose is down to a recent article in Aberdeen Voice.

The article clarified Kelly Cable’s method of doing business: funds from the animals sold at market are used to support the animals they choose to save.

Despite images of sheep clearly shown on Northfield’s various rescue appeals, the Cables are now adamant they don’t save sheep. Those who look at the pictures and read the initial posts were hardly likely to know that.

On a social media page for the Haven, Cable claimed ‘everyone’ knows about the working farm side of the business. As to using photographs of animals destined for slaughter, not sanctuary, Cable offers this explanation:

“The only reason we post pics of the sheep/cows etc. is because we’ve been asked to. Some of the people who donate and live far away love seeing pictures of all the animals.”

The assertion that people who donate to save animals also want to see photos of the cow destined to become steak and the lamb that’s for the chop is an odd one.

Kelly recently posted on social media:

“all of our supporters are aware of what we do with our sheep”

When questioned in detail about whether or not the sold animals are killed she replied:

“I don’t send them [sheep] for slaughter the people who buy them after me probably do but I don’t personally so what I stated was fact….”

The interest in Cable’s working farm and rescue operations were sparked by her online Go Fund Me page asking for £5,000 to rescue Shetland ponies. Two other area animal shelters came forward ready to rescue the animals without raising the £5,000 for the purpose. These were turned away by Cable, who wrote of a ‘vendetta’ and said the ponies’ owner only wanted Cable to get the animals.

The owner of the Shetlands is unknown at present. The ‘vendetta’ referred to seems to be nothing more than a voluntary regulatory body, REACH, being formed to provide a code of ethics for animal rescue. The Cable school of thought falls far short of this ideology, which says breeding animals is wrong for anyone in the rescue business, as is selling animals, especially for slaughter.

One donor who discovered that the Cables also raise lambs and other animals to sell at local auction market (Thainstone’s) commented:

“Disappointed an ‘animal haven’ sends animals to slaughter. Did you read their reply re. refusing help from Hillside? Sounds odd to me.”

Unhappy donors who learned of the sales, concerned animal welfare organisations, and people who have had past dealings with Cable came forward with serious concerns on her business model and details of a decidedly sketchy financial past.

The Haven is a voluntary organisation, and as such there is little visibility of the organisation’s structure or finance. Transparency, honesty, and clarity are what many potential donors expect of those they support. Potential Northfield donors might be interested to know that Cable was made bankrupt in 2009. Not all of her creditors were paid.

However, when it comes to transparency and honesty, one particular episode in Kelly Cable’s colourful career stands out. She and a former partner were lent £10,000 with which to buy a home together. This money came from her partner’s parents and his pensioner grandparents. The couple each signed a loan agreement for the money in August of 2000. The couple split up after buying the Aberdeenshire home.

When asked to repay her £5,000 share of this loan, Kelly Cable astonishingly tried to claim she had never received the money – claiming the signature on the handwritten loan and repayment agreement were not hers.

A forensic handwriting expert put paid to that claim by examining the document and samples of Cable’s writing. The expert concluded the writing was by the same person, or as the report put it, there were:

“overwhelming similarities indicating they [the loan document and Kelly Cable’s writing] are of common authorship”

It is understood that fundraising regulatory authorities are interested in Northfield’s fundraising activities.

Northfield have announced on social media that they are seeking legal advice concerning Aberdeen Voice’s article by Suzanne Kelly, which can be found here https://aberdeenvoice.com/2015/08/controversial-animal-organisation-declines-pony-rescue-offers/

It is strongly recommended that anyone who wants to donate money to an animal rescue or any other charity should research it thoroughly beforehand, and not rely solely on pictures and testimonials written by the operators.

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Aug 242015

Animal Lovers who chance upon Northfield Animal Haven’s ‘Go Fund Me’ campaign to save two Shetland mares and four foals might want to dig deeper before digging into their pockets. The Shetland ponies could have already been rescued by Blaikiewell’s or Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

Northfield turned those offers down and is seeking £5,000 from the public. Is there more to Northfield than meets the eye? What does this Aberdeenshire family organisation do to raise funds? Members of the public, animal welfare organisations and local charities all contacted Aberdeen Voice. Here are some of Suzanne Kelly’s findings and experiences – with more to come shortly.

open day july 15 sign says all farm animals and shows animals northfield actually slaughter USE PICFrom a description on campaign site Go Fund Me, the average person would think Northfield is just another animal rescue charity, and no one else can help the ponies they are seeking £5,000 in donations to help:

“We urgently need your help to save 6 Shetland ponies, there are [sic] mums and their foals.”

“They are under threat of being shot and used over winter as dog food(1). We can make a difference. We can save them and get them here in the care of our rescue so we can rehabilitate them and rehome them but without your help we dont have the necessary resources to make this happen.”

“Please help by donating as much or as little as you can.

“The costs involved are for Transport, Vet Treatment, Farrier and Feed. Our work with the horses will obviously not cost a penny. Time is against us and we dont have alot of it, this needs to happen within the next few days(2)…………………….

“Registered not for profit organisation based in Scotland UK. SCVO 4365.

“Non funded Sanctuary/Rescue for all equine, farm and small animals(3). Run on a working farm in scotland(4). We are totally reliant on the publics [sic] help with donations(5). We have no reserves of monies unlike the bigger rescues. We pay no wages all donations go to the animals in our care. Without your continued support we cannot do what we do. Please give if you can. Thank You.”


“We got a phone call last night about this situation, we are working with the people involved to try and stop this from happening, if we had unlimited funds we would take them today. Other charities have been asked and all have refused to help(6) so it leaves it up to us and you the public to help. These Shetlands are young, there are foals of 11 months and two months old, they deserve to live and not be put in a freezer to feed to his dogs. please please help”

In their statement above, I have added numbers to various sentences that people have brought to my attention. There are serious concerns about how the public is being led to think about Northfield.

Northfield Sheep to mart fb screenshot

Facebook screenshot (click to enlarge) announcing the sorting out of sheep to be taken to the mart.

(1) It is admirable that Northfield do not want the animals used as dog food of course. But the same people who run this animal rescue are also people who raise animals for slaughter.

People who have read the Go Fund Me page and subsequently learned of the nature of the other side of the family’s business have been surprised, some appalled.

They raise animals for meat.

This has upset some of the donors greatly.

Many people are unable to understand the ethics involved: what kind of double standard allows a person to determine that Animal A is to be destined for the dinner plate (possibly sold for animal food) but that Animal B is to be cherished/saved/rehomed/pampered?

To this Northfield wrote among other things:

“With regards to my running a farm side on my property, yes I raise sheep and yes I sell the boys and surplus ewes at the local mart, these are sold as store lambs and if you are aware store lambs have to bought and raised on further, they may be kept as breeding ewes or most likely they will go for meat, but I personally do NOT send them to slaughter as you have stated many times.

“This may amount to 20 a year which you may get £50 for each so that will give you an income of around a £1000…”

The fact that Northfield aren’t personally killing the sheep but sell them to others to kill does not exactly sit well with everyone who donates to animal charities.

An October 2013 Facebook screenshot shows Northfield referring to selling pigs sheep and poultry to help pay for the rescues. Another Facebook dialogue claims ‘the farm income is always used for the rescues’.

This makes the claim at Point (5) “We are totally reliant on the public’s help with donations” somewhat misleading, as the sale of lambs (only depicted in the advertising because people like to see them, and not part of the ‘all’ farm animals Northfield rescues) seems at odds with the organisation’s own statements.

(3) (4) Anyone who is now confused as to what creatures Northfield deems worthy of rescue will be further confused should they stumble across other Northfield comments or websites mentioning the venture:

“Rescue, Rehome, Rehabilitate Retirement village for all farm, equinesmall animals.”

go fund me request shows sheep and chickensIndeed one Go Fund Me campaign claimed there were zero funds; it showed a photo of a lamb and chicken. Someone who had read that Northfield rescued ‘all’ farm animals might have seen this photo and concluded these animals were meant to be rescued, not barbequed.

A ‘working’ farm could be an agricultural farm. Despite a claim appearing on Facebook that all their donors know about the meat production business, it is clear that is not the case.

So do they rescue sheep with the right hand, and sell them for meat with the left hand? Well, no – the pictures you see of farm animals, and the claim to rescue all farm, equinesmall [sic] animals is explained thus on a recent Facebook thread:

“The rescues which include horses pigs and rabbits are what we fundraise for…. The only reason we post pics of the sheep/cows etc. is because we’ve been asked to. Some of the people who donate and live far away love seeing pictures of all the animals.”

People like to see pictures of sheep? Presumably these are the same kinds of people who like to see the lobster they are about to have boiled.

(2) (6) The Shetland ponies in question had offers from Blaikiewell’s and from Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

One recent donor on the Go Fund Me page who is a vegetarian told Aberdeen Voice:-

“Disappointed an ‘animal haven’ sends animals to slaughter. Did you read their reply re. refusing help from Hillside? Sounds odd to me.”

Both of these organisations offered to take the ponies – but Northfield has rejected the offers – begging the question how accurate was their claim ‘other charities have been asked and all have refused to help.”

The rationale Northfield used for not letting someone else save the ponies was played out on Facebook:

Northfield Animal Haven Yes they [Hillside, Blaikiewell] did offer help but as I have already explained hillside were part of a vendetta against us earlier in the year so why would they be willing to help now also they are desperate for funds for the animals they already have so this would just add to their situation.
[? it is unknown what ‘vendetta’ is meant – but this could be the formation of ‘REACH’ an organisation seeking to standardise animal charity ethics – which excludes producing animals for slaughter to ‘save’ other animals]

“… Hillside did state things about us before their owner Wendy Valentine, was the person stating things, this is mostly to do with their own opinions and beliefs.
[This may refer to criticism of selling animals for meat at Thainstone]

“Yes I agree with you that we should pull together and I have numerous times before passed the names of other sanctuaries onto people who have contacted me but I couldn’t help at the time, so have told them to contact others, and with the support we have received at the moment these Shetlands are safe and the cost of transport is covered. Which I have said…And lastly, on this particular occasion, Kelly has been asked (and trusted) to take these ponies, and was specifically asked if she could promise that they would only go to her.”

“As you can imagine, this is going to put even more financial strain on her, and she really does appreciate the offer of help (and would love to be able to say yes), but a promise is a promise.

“Hope this has helped you understand the situation more.”

This seems to boil down to Northfield don’t want the Shetlands winding up as food (unlike their farm animals). The unnamed Shetland pony owner only wants Kelly Cable to have the animals – so presumably if Northfield don’t raise the money, it’s too bad for the ponies. The other sanctuaries that have different ideas about raising animals for slaughter while operating to save animals have been discounted from saving the Shetlands.

#                                             #                                             #                                             #

Having waded through screenshots, listened to concerns from people finding Northfield imagery and statements contradictory and misleading, I asked for some clarification. The responses I got back were long-winded, histrionics. Claims were put against me inferring that I said the animals were mistreated, inferring someone was passing around lies and slanderous remarks, etc.

My questions were:

“Do you have a farm side to your business that sells animals at auction for meat? Did any other animal shelters agree to take these animals? Are you part of accredited national group Reach? you are not a registered charity it should be noted. Lastly I am a journalist that has had libellous personal attacks from you/your supporters for asking these questions”

For those who want to read the lengthy response, they will find it on Go Fund Me.

  • I cannot come to terms with someone who will wash their hands of killing – or rather selling so someone else kills an animal so they can raise money to sell other animals – particulary when the images used of the animals killed have accompanied drives for rescue funds
  • A great deal of emphasis is being put on my question about this organisation being a registered charity – this is mentioned in many criticism of me. I am merely making the statement it is not a registered charity. There is far more visibility in the finances and aims of a charity than there is of a voluntary organisation – for which finding financial information is very difficult
  • REACH was set up to standardise ethics and practices for animal rescue groups; as one of its ethical positions is that rescue groups should not have other animals bred for slaughter to support saving other animals – this seems to me like basic ethics.

All in all, if you wish to support this organisation and its appeal to raise £5,000 to save 5 Shetland ponies, then by all means do. However, do so aware that other animals are slaughtered to fund these rescue efforts, that two other organisations had already stepped up to take the animals without the need to demand £5,000 but were turned away, that images of sheep and a statement that ‘all’ farm animals are rescued are not quite true.

As ever, Northfield have a right to reply (NB – they have barred me from Twitter yet told followers I ‘refuse’ to answer their tweets; they have also barred me from their Facebook page).

Confused? A website, UKsponsorship.com has this to say:

“The principal aim of Northfield Animal Haven is to provide a rescue/re-homing centre for any unwanted, neglected, abused or retired equine, farm and small animals.

“Our aim is to offer each animal a loving home where they will never again have to suffer abuse, neglect, abandonment or starvation. Please support us”. http://www.uksponsorship.com/a1875.htm

Just not the kinds of farm animals someone might want to eat.

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May 312013

Can you be an animal lover and eat animals? Would it be better to say “I am a pet lover”? Trish Healy questions the nature of our relationship with animals and the food industry.

People are happy to love their pets and spend much time and attention including toys & treats upon them but would be horrified at the thought of killing, skinning, chopping, cooking and eating them.

The same people, however, would be happy have this done to a ‘farm’ animal.

I ask you, why is one beings life less important and of less value than the other? If a ‘pet’ is abused there is an outcry and yet, are we not abusing the animal we see as food?

The same lamb that is cooed over in the fields at springtime is thought not about when on our plates. We give our children cuddly toys, pigs, calves, lambs, and serve the same animal to them in the guise of a breaded dinosaur.

Just how much are we as the consumer aware of the horrors of the slaughterhouse? Do we connect that we pay the hand that takes the life? We don’t want to know that part, better hidden, no glass walls to see through.

What is humane about a life not given but taken?  How many meat eaters have watched any footage at all of a slaughterhouse? It’s not pretty, it’s not humane, its soul destroying but hey it tastes good…do we have the right to kill because of taste?

Free range – at least they have had a good life. Has anyone truly investigated this free range or do you take the labels word for it?

In 2011 an undercover investigation by Hillside Animal Sanctuary made public the horrific conditions on a Norfolk UK ‘Freedom Food Farm’, a scheme – backed by the RSPCA – which is meant to ­guarantee high animal welfare standards . The farm was suspended from the freedom food scheme but the animals where left in distress.

We are brainwashed by so many adverts that deviate from truth. How many are aware that the cow’s milk on the shelves is the milk a baby calf went without?

The male is the by-product of this industry and is too costly to maintain so off to slaughter this baby goes and we can have the milk for our coffee, ice cream, goodness there’s even milk in crisps.

Gummi Bears, a children’s favourite sweet contains gelatine which is made from the bones of mainly pigs and cows, unsuitable then for the vegetarian, vegan, and those religions that do not allow the consumption of certain animals.

Many items bought do not by law have to state certain ingredients; wine for example contains proteins, egg whites and isinglass, a derivative of sturgeon bladders, Safer to buy the vegan version if you wish to stay clear of any animal agents

We are a nation of fast food junkies who pay no heed to why these meals are so cheap as long as they stay this way.

Who wants to think of the battery caged hens, twisted in the packed cages, featherless and broken? They will be barely a year old before they go to feed the fast food outlets.

Who cares that they are hatched in their thousands, the males minced in the mincing machine and the females kept for the cages or the free range market, same beginning…same end. They are no longer living beings but commodities as are all animals raised for the food industry.

I ask when are we as a species going to ‘evolve’ from the ‘food chain’ and become compassionate to those beings we share this planet with.

In past years, women were laughed at for believing they were entitled to vote; that the black slave would be free; that women would preach in the ministry. So I ask you to nurture these thoughts I have put into words and ask yourself, “to eat without meat?” … why not?

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Feb 142013

After the revelations about problems in the food chain, vegetarians are probably feeling a bit smug; those folk who for religious reasons avoid certain types meat will be feeling quite concerned, and investors in food testing labs will be rubbing their dividends with some glee! Duncan Harley writes.

FrayBentosThere is of course nothing new here.

Throughout history products such as milk and sugar, coffee and tea, mustard and ketchup, baking powder, butter, cheese, flour, olive oil, honey, spices, vinegar, beef, pork, lard, beer, wine and canned vegetables have been subject to adulteration on a regular basis in the developed world.

Driven by the profit motive, manufacturers and distributors are prone to dupe unsuspecting customers by bulking out foodstuffs with cheap substitutes.

The old stories about sawdust in bread, chalk in baking powder and the adulteration of beer with water all have some basis in truth. A recent case in China involved the adulteration of milk with melamine. After a brief trial in 2008, two executives of the company concerned were sentenced to death and shot.

In 2012, a study in India conducted by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) across 33 states found that milk in India is adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, as well diluted with water. At the turn of the 20th century, industrialization in the United States saw an uprise in adulteration and this inspired some protest.

Accounts of adulteration led the New York Evening Post to parody:

Mary had a little lamb,
And when she saw it sicken,
She shipped it off to Packingtown,
And now it’s labelled chicken

Back in the 18th century, people recognized adulteration in food.

“The bread I eat in London is a deleterious paste, mixed up with chalk, alum and bone ashes, insipid to the taste and destructive to the constitution. The good people are not ignorant of this adulteration; but they prefer it to wholesome bread, because it is whiter than the meal of corn [wheat].

“Thus they sacrifice their taste and their health. . . to a most absurd gratification of a misjudged eye; and the miller or the baker is obliged to poison them and their families, in order to live by his profession.” – Tobias Smollet, The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (1771)

There have been recent warnings that all might not be quite right within the UK meat supply chain. The Food Standards Agency published a report in 2003 entitled “Survey of Undeclared Horsemeat or Donkey meat in Salami and Salami-Type Products”.

Horsemeat2The results from a range of outlets, including supermarkets, independent retailers, catering suppliers and independent butchers indicated were seemingly inconclusive in that only one result showed horse meat in food.This was at the time put down to cross contamination at a French food plant named as “Busso Freres”.

The company promised to introduce additional quality controls to prevent the “mixing or cross contamination of meat species”.

Between September 2006 and September 2009 a Ravenscorpe firm ran a £200,000 food scam on fake halal meat.

There have also been countless instances of so called “organic” foods and “free range eggs” being found to be fake in the UK.

Now I have no problem eating food which is honestly made and honestly labelled. A quick search of my food cupboard reveals a well known brand of tinned pie which I, perhaps unwisely, purchased in my local pound shop since it seemed too good a bargain to miss.

The first two ingredients are listed as “water 30%” and “beef 25%”.

I have wine in the house which will have been clarified using “bulls blood” and beer in my fridge which has been fined using “Isinglass” which is of course a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. I have on one occasion eaten horsemeat and probably had donkey meat in a Cretan restaurant on a few occasions.

It appears to me however that food regulation has to a great degree been outsourced to suppliers and manufactures quite far down the food processing chain. The end user has little control of the food content beyond either refusing to buy or simply trusting the description on the packaging.

The high street shops and supermarkets seem to be hampered by too many processes along the way making it difficult to track the origin and up until now the content of the foodstuffs they sell to us.

cows beef2Like the banking industry before it, the food industry has betrayed its customers. At what point from the slaughterhouse did the cow become a horse? The bigger question is why no-one is checking.

It’s a bit late now checking samples to find it’s all horse. As consumers we have the right to have our food labelled properly, what’s in it, if a ‘natural ingredient’ is actually some animal gland secretions or if chemically treated  then what with?

This way we can make an informed choice as to what we eat and feed to our families. As vegans say “a horse is a cow is a sheep”. Perhaps we could all get back to home cooking, to be more aware of the ‘crap’ we can avoid, and to choose a healthier option whatever our diet – meat, veggie, vegan etc.

After reviewing the FSA’s response to this and the 2003 salami scandal, I am not sure there is much hope of a government that wants us to be healthy!

Horse meat is around 25% of the cost of beef.