Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Pigless

Walking through the village with the dogs a few minutes ago, I spied affable despot Jason ambling down Chapel Street with his daughter on his shoulders.
"Have they gone?!" he called over and when I shouted out that they had, he added with a chuckle
"Bet you feel like that chap out of Schindler's List"
22 as a baby

Sweet natured number 12 and the killer-on-trotters number 21 left the field peacefully this morning. The Red Faced Welsh Farmer and his ever cheerful son Ed turned up exactly on time as did my farmer friends Eirlys and John, who had kindly agreed to give us a hand and after a quick chin wag and "plan of attack", we set up  a whole line of hurdles leading a path up to the waiting loose box by the gate.

I filled a bucket with corn, opened the enclosure gate and called the pigs out. Number 21 followed me immediately, with number 12 tottering up rather shyly behind, and within five minutes we had just about loaded 12 into the trailer where he peacefully scooped up big mouthfuls of corn with relish. The more sly number 21 played up just a little and tiptoed gaily around the field for a few minuteds, presumably searching for a spare hen to kill, followed by all of my helpers with their pig boards at the ready.

Neither pig was stressed, that's all I was truly bothered about, and when we eventually loaded 21, they both looked as though a trip in a trailer was the most natural thing in the world for both of them to be doing on a cold Tuesday morning.
Their calmness made me feel so much better, I just couldn't bare seeing them anxious and frightened.

At the abattoir
It was the same story when we arrived at the butcher's abattoir, where a huge South African Butcher, gently encouraged them both into their holding pen. "He's a big friendly bastard" he commented when number 12 ambled forward to sniff at some tiny looking porkers in the next stall, and a second later I was off to complete the paperwork . It was as quick and as simple as that.. no time for "goodbyes....no time for second thoughts!
I was glad I was with the RFWF He would have stamped on any indulgent emotional romp if  I dared to perform one.Things had to be matter of fact...that is the rule with farm animals.

"You are now a real farmer!" the RFWF said  as we drove off......."welcome to the club "

46 comments:

  1. he's right you're a real farmer. I think everyone knows how much you cared about them.

    Well done from me.

    Gill in Canada

    P.S. What's the next project?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks like there are an awful lot of people getting out of pig keeping at the moment.
    They are a lot of rather muddy work!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oooohhh! This is one of the reasons that I'm a veggie. If I did eat meat though I would want it to come from well cared for animals like yours.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It couldn't have been easy but good on you for sticking to the plan.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're a "real farmer" in Wales and I'm a cry baby in the USA...because it brought back memories of when our pig met his destiny (way back in the 1950s)!
    No abbatoir for him, with help from a RFAF, my father did the deed!

    Is the choir you sing in the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir? Or the church choir? Either way it would be a treat to hear you sing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You're a "real farmer" in Wales and I'm a cry baby in the USA...because it brought back memories of when our pig met his destiny (way back in the 1950s)!
    No abbatoir for him, with help from a RFAF, my father did the deed!

    Is the choir you sing in the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir? Or the church choir? Either way it would be a treat to hear you sing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. John, you're a better man than I.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh my, well its done then.

    I think we have resolved our computerInternet issues and I seem to be back up and running! Knock on wood.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well done for not blubbing John

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well done. A colleague caught sight of the photo of No 21 on your sidebar this morning (yeah yeah - so I was reading your blog at work.....) and said "what a cute piggie". So I said - actually he's gone off to be bacon this morning. (expecting an outcry) All the response I got was. "What cute bacon, then."

    Bye bye No 21!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I could never be a farmer. Too heart breaking and emotional to eat your pets, but I guess they are not pets but livestock! I am glad to hear though that they werent stressed, if there is such a way of doing that kind of thing humanely! And that they were well cared for by you.Every time I see a slaughter truck I swear to myself I will become a vegetarian, which I am not, at least not yet, but I rarely eat meat.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh dear, when it finally comes to the last moment it's no longer quite so easy. Hard reality has to take over. I hope you coped OK.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am sure it was a difficult day for you, but you did everything more than right. You are such a good, compassionate man and farmer.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well done John ! You may come work on South Pork Ranch anytime. (I knew you were just waiting for an invitation) Raising animals in an ethical and humane manner from beginning to end is something to be proud of.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Being another veggie, I can only think, Poor little piggies! But at least you were doing all you could to minimise any piggie distress. I hope they'll be happy again once they reach the Great Pigsty in the Sky.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Farmers live a brave life. You did it! I'm dreading our first experience with processing our livestock in 2012, so reading about your experience, with your frankness about how it feels, makes me know it is quite normal to be anxious and a bit sickened to go through it. I hear it gets easier and easier.

    Let us know.
    Lana

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's respect. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You've been a farmer since you ate the first egg.
    Still, *hugs*.
    I know I will be the same when we do our first animal.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well done! I'm so pleased it went so well for you and the Pigs. Mo

    ReplyDelete
  20. Well done mate.

    I did wonder if you actually go with them or just wave them off tearfully, from the field gate.

    No shame in being a little bit emotional John. I'll bet even RFWF was at the start.

    Impressed.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm sort of curious to know how they actually "did it" - on the other hand I'd rather not know.

    I'm sure you feel comforted by their stress-free end and it will be easier the next time.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well done with the Boys.

    ReplyDelete
  23. More than a real farmer, you're a bacon farmer. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Still waiting for my genetically grown meat...

    ReplyDelete
  25. And I have been thinking about them all day John!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am not as brave as you seem. I make my hubby drive the sheep to the processor, as I am crying when we load them and can't bear the thought of seeing them past our driveway. I had a couple wethers follow me on the trailer last year and it was almost my undoing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. You and Crow have really given me 'food for thought' when it comes to what enters my mouth in the form of nourishment.
    You are not only a real farmer you are a good man and kind soul. We should all have to go to such lengths for the privledge of eating meat.
    xo Linda

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's a good thing I'm not a farmer. I'd be a big sissy girl when it came time to visit the abattoir. (Oddly enough, when I worked in medical research, I made regular trips to the abattoir to pick up buckets of cow eyes on ice, and never gave what I was doing a second thought.)

    ReplyDelete
  29. thank you all...... I won't pretend it was not a little difficult ( especially when I think of no 12) but deep down I just know I would be a hypocrite if I didn't finally cull the pigs..... it's so easy to go to the supermarket and buy that piece of meat in the celophane and forget it was an animal that probably had a shit life..... my pigs , although only alive for a year, had quite a nice existance
    ( as well as several chicken dinners!!!!)
    thank you all again

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for the update, John.

    I was hoping that all went well, and am so glad that 12 and 21 weren't stressed.

    Good on you for following through, and i'm glad the RFWF complimented you. Not everyone makes it into the real farmer's club.

    x
    megan

    ReplyDelete
  31. megan
    he did preface his comment by adding that I was a "hobby farmer" but he meant it kindly

    ReplyDelete
  32. Well, now, John... will you be raising any more piggies? You have the set up for it, right there.

    ReplyDelete
  33. sharon
    I will let the pig enclosure recover and yes at some stage more piglets will come!!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. John, you are a better person than I! Yes, I eat meat. I could not have done what you did today. I admire your courage and clarity to be able to do this.

    ReplyDelete
  35. So will you be consuming both pigs or selling a part ... and will you start raising new pigs soon?

    ReplyDelete
  36. HOA
    well we will farm some meat out to family.... and to the RFWF ETC
    (I have promised Auntie glad a chop etc)
    and yes
    more piglets in the new year

    ReplyDelete
  37. It's never easy...but you will smile when you eat the bacon!

    Thanks for stopping by to visit, I am a sucker for the eyes, too.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Oh. Poor little piggies. I was hoping you reconsidered at the very end and made big jolly pets out of them.

    I don't know if I mentioned it (I'm old and thus repeat my stories a lot), but I lived on a hobby farm once and we thought it would be a good idea to buy a cow to keep the grass down. Then, after a while, we'd butcher it and have hamburger in the freezer.

    When push came to shove, we couldn't kill Sweetie Pie (that was her name). We had her for YEARS. When we finally sold the farm, we had to sell the cow. We took her to the local auction and the folks there divided the cattle into two pens - the breedable ones and the ones headed for the stockyards.

    Sweetie Pie was put in the stockyards pen. I still feel guilty about that.

    Doesn't stop me from enjoying a good hamburger, though! Yes! I'll have extra bacon on mine!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Well done. The first ones to cull are always the worst. And well done you for having a go at taking control of what goes on your food table.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I know that was difficult and often wonder if it were me...could I make that decision. Glad all went well. You are a "real" farmer and the best kind, because you actually care for your animal's welfare. That is something to be very proud of. So many do not and that is shameful.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Good job, those little porkers look nice and healthy. I always feel the same way, and I've done it a time or two. Hardest part, but the practical part comes later when you pick up your packages and then something switches. Weird but, I say Thank YOU to every package I take from the freezer and appreciate how well I did in providing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. The 4-H kids do this every year. Well tended to livestock from infant to the slaughter. Lovingly cared for, then to auction at the fairs across the USA. I've been told that the meat is the best due to the tender care the animals got. You know I was a vegetarian for over 30 years & I don't think I could do it. I do know it is a natural circle of life. xx

    ReplyDelete
  43. I must welcome you to this special club of growing food with love. Lady Gaga is due to be picked up on Saturday, dressed in white butcher paper. Alejandro i going to a local family. I can't promise you it gets easier. I can only promise that you are part of the solution to moving away from industrial farming, therefor helping our earth. Good on you. I wish you plenty of healthy feasts to be enjoyed and recognized as sacred food.

    ReplyDelete
  44. well done and enjoy :-)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them
Please dont be abusive x