“A peasant becomes fond of his pig and is glad to salt away its pork.
What is significant, and is so difficult for the urban stranger to understand,
is that the two statements are connected
by an and not by a but.”
Yesterday, we got ‘the call’ from our farmer friend that he was in the area, and could pick up our porkers on the way back to his farm, to take to slaughter today, with some of his own animals.
They are probably dead by now – all morning I have been looking at the clock and wondering whether they have breathed their last. My work colleagues keep asking me whether I am sad about it. This is a bit annoying. I feel like asking them if they mourned the death of the pig which is in their supermarket sandwich. The fact is, animals die so that we can eat meat – I think they just feel that it is a bit heartless if you happened to know the animal when it was alive.
|The pigs in the autumn - amazing how much they grew in the last few months. They even had a bench to sit on.|
This couldn’t be further from the truth. I know that my pigs were well looked after. They had a snuggly house, plenty of space to run about in, lots of soil and roots to snuffle about and plenty of treats. So I can’t be sad about their lives, the way I am about the way intensively reared pigs live. That only leaves their deaths to be sad about. I did have a quiet moment at the sight of the empty pig pen, but I am not sad.
I know that they were sent to a local family run small abattoir, about a twenty five minute drive away from us, so any stress was kept to a minimum. Oli went with our last lot and saw it through right until the last minute. He said it was all done so fast that none of the pigs had a chance to see what was going on – and there was no squealing. This is a million miles away from the hours travelled by some animals to large slaughterhouses, who queue up for ages in full sight of what is going on. If I am going to eat any pigs, I would rather they are the ones that met their end with as much dignity as possible in the circumstances.
|In the trailer.|
For me, there are two options – either don’t eat it, or go to the trouble to make sure it has lived and died well. Just buying it and trying not to think about the bad bits isn’t really a choice for me – I am sorry if that sounds a bit sanctimonious.
They were on their way within half an hour. We tempted them into the trailer with some food (this does feel a bit duplicitous), completed the paperwork (which is for the local council's animal movement records) while they ate, and our friend took them off to overnight in a barn before the journey in the morning.
|Note to self - must buy flat cap or will never make proper farmer status.|
It will be a couple of weeks before our pork delivery arrives.