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"When did this stop being a thing" Topic

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1,528 hits since 30 Nov 2017
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Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 2:10 p.m. PST

Reading about the aftermath of Helsingborg 1710.

The Swedes had a problem removing the almost 4000 dead horses the danes had slaughtered.
Because dead horses were unclean. And nobody wanted to touch the carcasses.

I've not read about this in any of my previous Military history books (mainly Napoleonic)

So when did this stop being a thing?

saltflats192930 Nov 2017 2:40 p.m. PST

Probably with the inception of the caned pet food industry.

MajorB30 Nov 2017 3:02 p.m. PST

When people stopped riding horses into battle.

Darrell B D Day30 Nov 2017 3:03 p.m. PST

Probably with the inception of the caned pet food industry.

Caned pet food? Talk about flogging a dead horse…!


14Bore30 Nov 2017 3:32 p.m. PST

One problem of dead horses is the weight of each, after Gettysburg it was a issue and eventually the bones were crushed and used as fertilizer

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 3:38 p.m. PST

The question wasn't when did it stop being a religious issue to handle dead horses. I've not seen any other reference to this being an issue in any other book I've read.

Davoust30 Nov 2017 3:58 p.m. PST

Horses have never been unclean animals in the Christian religion which was the religion of the Swedes at that time.

So I would the report of not wanting to remove or touch them for religious reasons is not true.

Le Breton Inactive Member30 Nov 2017 6:26 p.m. PST

Maybe more literally "unclean" (bloated, putrid, decaying) than religeously "unclean" (taboo). Was there not an outbreak of plague shortly after the battle?

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 10:20 p.m. PST

A lot of horses were used in WW2, so a lot of horses died. There's even a scene in the movie "Fury" where the driver talks about how unpleasant it was to clean up dead horses in the Falaise pocket.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2017 1:02 a.m. PST

The book clearly states:
In early modern period. It was seen as unclean to handle dead horses.
According to the old testament Leviticus chapter 11. It was banned to eat animals with a single undivided hoof.

Littlearmies01 Dec 2017 2:27 a.m. PST

Well now it's okay to eat fish on Fridays when it didn't used to be:

hornblaeser01 Dec 2017 5:02 a.m. PST

At least as unclean food it stopped as far as i know in the paris commune, where it became so popular, that it spread in the 1870 – 90 in europe. In france italy etc horse meat is now popular.
In DK it is now unpopular because of horses is now pets, and not tools.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2017 5:22 a.m. PST

Well horse broth was used in 1807 after Eylau. But then France was secular by then and so I assume religious taboos didn't stand high on priorities in the French army.

Per Broden Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

The horse was holy in pre-christian Sweden and although Sweden at this time was Christian some of the old ways were retained (hey!, we are still celebrating midsummer dancing around a maypole since pagan days, and long may it prevail!). So dealing with a dead horse was not seen as honourable and would be shameful.

Instead this job was given to the "Nattman" (translated to The Nightman). The Nightman really pulled the shortest straw with regards to items in this job description and assisted the local executioner team (setting up and burying the executed in unholy ground, this also included people who committed suicide), castrating animals, collecting dead animals, to mention some of the nice things to do – oh I forgot, they also emptied the latrines in the cities.
There was no way out of this career once you had gone into it and guess what options your son had?. They would normally be buried outside the graveyard and were shunned by common people and lived outside of normal society. In Southern Sweden this job was mainly carried out by members of the travelling community.

I suppose that the supply of nightmen on standby were not sufficient to swiftly deal with the 4000 dead horses (removing and bury them) that the danes had kindly left on the street of Helsingborg. In addition they destroyed most of the grain supplies as well witch left a lot of people starving as a consequence – but then I suppose they (the danes) did not come in peace after all.

How this would have been dealt with later on I am not sure.
However I know of a delicatessen from my home area called the Gustafskorv (meaning Gustavskorv, which is a sausage made from Horse). The story goes that a local farmer at some point in the mid- or late 19th century, called Käll-Mats, reasoned that is was better to do something with the horse meat than burying it.

So I think the 19th century would be different than the 18th.

14Bore01 Dec 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

Horses were eaten by armies in the 7YW so not long after.And was this long after the battle so carcasses may have been rotting fast?

42flanker03 Dec 2017 2:34 p.m. PST

Well now it's okay to eat fish on Fridays when it didn't used to be

I think you'll find… it's the other way round.

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