Thursday, 1 December 2011

Pig Points

Piggy Eyes watching the world
No 12 is a benign boar.
He is gentle, good humoured and rather a handsome soul...who does nothing but sleep and eat in these glum first days of winter.
He and 21 will be going soon......the finer points of when, where and freezer space just need some clarification and organisation, but go they will after a spring, summer and autumn, digging,eating and sunbathing in the corner of the field.
Will I miss the pigs when they leave? Hummm..... I am not sure............................... I have been pretty good at distancing myself from them as "individuals" and generally have not fallen victim to those quirky aspects of personality all animals possess...those that get under your emotional skin so to speak.

The pigs are fed, watered, and health checked, and that't it! They have not been played with, they have not been anthropomorphised within an inch of their piggy tales and they have not been loved. Having said this, I shall miss no 12's dog like nature just a little...but I won't be upset when they are taken to the knacker's yard......This bothers me just a little....for I will be guilty, like most of us are , of accepting the meat so to speak without really accepting any of the responsibility of "doing the deed" 
The pigs will leave my care, healthy and robust animals...... I won't be privy to their final moments....(thank God)... but I will enjoy their meat just the same........without ever having to get my hands dirty.
hummm on reflection this doesn't quite sit right with me
hey ho


  1. Look at it this way John. In a decent abattoir they will be handled humanely, with the minimum amount of discomfort and distress and be 'dealt with' professionally and by a skilled hand. Could you do that? I know I'd be useless at it and would probably never eat meat again.

    They've had a good time, eaten a few chickens and nipped your arse a couple of times to boot.

    I did think you were keeping No. 21 though...

  2. I am in total sync with you about this John. As time is going by and we are getting used to having our animals, I am finding that I am tending to assess them as potential meat suppliers. For instance, I found myself looking at the sheep today, sorting out in my head which ones were going into the freezer. Last year, when we first got them, I would have been more focussed on how pretty they looked in the field. Hope I don't get too hardened.

  3. The piggies are cute for a while but once they start to get bigger you notice their piggy little eyes sizing you up as potential breakfast. Their once satiny, soft little hides become bristly with, well, bristles and when you slap them on the side dust flies up. You begin to notice their terrible table manners and their habit of talking with their mouths full. It's about then that you start thinking of ham at Easter, bacon for breakfast, pork chops with applesauce.......

  4. I took the pig to be slaughtered the first time, because I needed to know that it was going to be done as humanely as possible.

    I can't say I appreciated it, but I thought it was my responsibility.

    I sent the men the net time and they have refused to go again because they are 'fond' of the pigs.

    What do they think I am? Hard Hearted Hannah?

  5. yes chris you are right....
    I guess its my own distancing that doesnt feel quite right....

    hum if I was to keep one pig it would be 12 as he 's so nice natured... (his piglets would be too)
    no 21 is a real bitch

  6. Even when shooting rabbits, I would dress (undress) them, then leave them in the freezer for a couple of weeks to distance myself from them. When at last their time came to be consumed, I felt no guilt.

  7. But you know that you gave them the best of care. That counts for something, I think.
    Unlike some people who think meat only comes in a package from the store.
    I don't think you should feel bad, John. If everyone processed their livestock the knackers would all be out of a job.

  8. I feel your angst. I've only had two sheep butchered in the 10 years that I've raised them. I admit to feeling guilty over deciding their fate. I actually cried and said 'Thank you' and a prayer for the first one that I took to the 'processor'. That being said, DAMN! That meat was good!

    Yet, for some strange reason, when I had a bunch of extra roosters butchered, I never did eat one! I gave them all away or cooked them for the pigs...

  9. I have to block the thoughts of the meat supply, although I've never raised animals. I do try to think about their life however, and buy my meat from a source that wasn't a feed lot.

  10. Which is why I'm vegan.
    Jane x

  11. On the other hand knowing where your meat came from is a good thing...and you've accepted responsibility for 12 and 21's life and death. Eat your piggy meat guilt free John!

  12. It's all part of the cycle of life and death! Frankly, our feelings don't count in all that. Do we feel bad when we cut down a tree to built ourselves a house?

  13. I've never raised or killed an animal for its meat, but I am a carnivore. I have personally butchered several white-tailed deer that were killed on the road and still good enough to eat. Acting as butcher at least occasionally is an important thing to do in life.

  14. The only way I know to handle this is to remind myself each day that just because something is destined to be a meal for me some day, it still is entitled to kindness and respect from me. Let them be pigs, cows, sheep, chickens or whatever they may be while they are in my care, but it's up to me to make sure that happens. I even choose my processor so that they are subjected to as little trauma as possible. And, as silly as this sounds, I thank them.
    I feel I am charged with that responsibility. All living things deserve as much.

  15. I tend to look at it the same as Nancy K and DeepBlue: give thanks to the animal and that it's a natural cycle. My concern has been about the genetic manipulation, additives for growth,inhumane care/processing and the waste of unsold product.

  16. I agree with Janet, and were i to raise animals, i can only hope to be as good a caretaker as you have been, John.

    I bought a half a pig from a local farmer. It had a happy life, as painless a death as possible, and i give thanks for every meal.


  17. Didn't you have a save the pig competition?

  18. that was before she killed my hens al!

  19. As a farmer's wife I have this all the time - I love a nice leg of lamb John but one cannot allow oneself to become attached to the animal otherwise we would all be vegetarians.

    John I would like to make Motor Neurone my charity this Christmas just to say thank you for your super blog over the year - I have enjoyed reading you so much. I do have your address but how do I make out the cheque, could you please let me know. I have a charity each Christmas - one which has come about through some happening in the year. Last year it was the Air Ambulance as I had had to make use of it myself. This year I wish it to be in honour of your brother.

  20. Are you having the hams & bacon smoked or do that yourself? MMMmmm, going to be some good eating!

    21 did turn out to be a mean bitch, didn't she?

  21. Just as long as you don't let the lovely lady, featured in yesterday's post, bash 'em over the head I think you can sleep soundly and blamelessly.

  22. Any piggie that eats hens, must be eaten. There has to be a golden rule that applies.

    If you bought that meat at the grocery store, you know you would be buying meat/pigs that lived a sad life. Very sad.

    Do you feel bad when you kill vegetables? To me, there is no difference.

    I shipped off my first pig last year to the forever farm. He was the best guy ever. I loved him and talked to him, and scratched his back. I have to believe he enjoyed his life rooting and eating Chinese food leftovers. I sent him off to the professionals who put him in white wrapped paper. They are trained and not a bit of him was wasted. I would hate to have not have been blessed by his full potential to an inexperienced hand.

    Now, the meat chickens are done here. Also, there was a huge deer (buck) hanging here until Rusty cut him up. I really did not feel hungry for that meat or any meat after seeing the process. You are not missing anything. Promise.

    Send them piggies to market, and celebrate the blessing of good food in your freezer. Honor the animal by enjoying their gift of nutrition.

    I will be joining you.
    Blessings from WV.USA

  23. i must admit that when i pop down to the field, the pigs have gradually recieved less of my attention on each visit...i dont know what it is but i dont view them in quite the same way as the ones who were at the back of my house....they did eat my mobile phone but never did they eat a chicken live......send them away John and give me a rasher or two ....or belly pork ?...please !

  24. See, Crow's got it down pat.

    Even if she is a bit biased having just had a duck 'pig-mauled'!

    This lady knows her stuff and I've learnt a lot from her.

  25. I'm afraid I don't have the ability to care for an animal without CARING for the animal, if you know what I mean. And getting all emotionally attached. (Although the hilarious way Delores describes raising a pig, perhaps I could, after all.) But speaking as a non-repentent omnivore, I do appreciate those who raise healthy animals for the table. So, thanks!

  26. I don't agree with any of this. I'm one of those hypocrites who will buy meat and eat it, but the only animal product of our own that I'll eat is eggs. I won't criticize others who believe differently. When we take in animals, it's a lifetime proposition, they'll probably die here of old age. Which is why we say "no" a lot, especially to any animal that is normally raised for meat, because they aren't bred to live long, healthy lives and they're hard to provide for.


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