Is horse meat still eaten in France? Can I buy it at a butchers?

Horse meat is a French delicacy but many people are against eating it

More people see horses as pets, rather than animals for consumption

Reader Question: I remember being taught at school that French people ate horse meat. If true I would be curious to buy and cook some, but am not sure where to find it. 

Horse meat can still be found in France, although its popularity has been waning for a number of years. 

In 2022, less than 7% of French households said they had eaten it in the previous year, according to the Institut français du cheval et de l'équitation

However, there are some restaurants that still have horse meat dishes on their menus, and the food still retains its place in French culture.

An increasing number of people are put off by dishes containing the meat, which has led to its loss of popularity.

Many of those who say they would not eat the meat say they see see horses as closer to pets rather than animals raised for consumption. 

We asked Connexion readers last year to give their opinions on eating horse meat. 

Read more: ‘I see no problem’: Readers divided over banning horse meat in France

Can you buy horse meat at a butchers?

Horse meat can be bought commercially, however not all butchers sell it. 

Special butchers called chevaline sell horse meat, although their numbers are dwindling across France. They are also sometimes known as  boucherie hippophagique.

Between 2005 and 2018, the number of butchers selling the meat fell from more than 1,000 to around 300, say the Fédération de la Boucherie Hippophagique

The number of horses slaughtered in 2022 was 3,882, but ten years prior more than 18,000 were killed for their meat. 

Due to its scarcity, horse meat is now the most expensive meat on the market, and in 2021 cost nearly €20 per kilogram, according to data from FranceAgriMer.

This compares to the cost per kilogram of beef (€16.93), lamb (€17.26), and veal (€17.09).