Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lucky pigs

and snout, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

A month ago, Mum, Nick and I were down on a pig farm in Somerset, a farm which stocked free-range organic Gloucester spots. The owners were looking to expand, such was the demand for their produce despite the fact that theirs was twice the price of battery-farmed pork in the supermarket. Very encouraging and we wish them luck.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a high speed ferry returning to Amsterdam from the beach in Ijmuiden, talking about the asbestos ship, the Otopan.

And, now we hear about a plan to build pig flats in the port area of Amsterdam, a mutli-storey building to house pigs and give them more space, light and air than they would have in the sheds which are dotted around the countryside. It sounds bizarre to be doing this amongst the container ships but if pigs are not be left to lead a free life on the farm, this flat complex apparently gives pigs a much better standard of living than most of them currently have to put up with.

Further, pigs can count themselves to be lucky as their meat is not eaten by Muslims and Jews, both of which religions require animals to be slaughtered in a ritual way, which usually means that the animal is strung up and has its throat slit, without it being first made unconscious. Making animals unconcious before slaughetring them is in fact the law in Holland, and most of Europe, I believe. However, we have granted these religious groups an exemption, as with so many things.

Unfortunately, it was bad news for sheep and cows this week when Albert Heijn, the country's largest supermarket, which seems to have an almost monopoly in Groningen, started selling meat from ritually slaughtered animals as part of its standard range of products.

So this week, it was much better to be a pig than a sheep or a cow.


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