We've had Hugh’s Fish fight, lots of people fighting the corner for chickens and some fabulous work for farm animals in general especially from Compassion in World Farming
, though apart from the banning of sow cages in the UK, pigs have not had much welfare publicity. Though now we have The Pig Pledge
& The Pig Idea
part of the Feeding the 5000,
which The Butchery Ltd did all the butchery for last years Trafalgar Square feast. The food waste fed pork was exceptional with a huge depth of flavour, we have since also butchered a few other special pigs,[ fed on by products like whey and seen some very flavoursome pork. We believe, that as with cattle & sheep growing animals more slowly & naturally with a varied diet leads to a higher nutritional value in the meat, that all old fashioned "real meat" flavour & depth that is missing in a lot of modern meat. Alternatively pigs that gain a large part their nutrition from a single source take on some its elements, do you want that to be GM modified imported soya and corn, or whey from a local dairy or used hops from a brewery? Compare some of your local supermarket pork to the last bit of Spanish Jamon made from black pigs raised on acorns if you need any help making that decision.
Generally we don't get on the bandwagon as there are just so many "do-gooding" options out there. When we started The Butchery Ltd in 2011 we decided that we would source well raised meat from sources we felt comfortable with and let the taste & general quality of the meat speak for its self rather than preaching ethics to everyone, but pigs dead & alive have had our heart for so long that we seem to have gotten on the wagon.
Pigs by their very nature often end up being farmed in less than idyllic circumstances. The Foot & Mouth outbreak of 2001 in the UK, led to the sudden & total banning of feeding any scraps from human consumption, to pigs. Since 2002 this has been a EU wide ban, a crying shame for our growing food waste problem, more details can be found on the The Pig Idea solutions
Food waste is a problem prevalent in the world, feeding pigs and other animals our food waste is one angle, The other is not to make as much waste to begin with. Everyone making more effort to use all parts of the animals they choose to eat and only buying enough for their needs, means we can eat less but better raised meat.
Well fed and raised pork can be easily bought throughout the UK & is fabulous value for money, we see hundreds of people from all walks of life & cultures buy this type of pork from us every week, long may this continue as its the only way to support the small farmers we buy from, not to mention our growing staff and ourselves. Most supermarkets & many, but definitely not, all independent butchers and farm shops can supply those wanting to purchase higher welfare pork, but read your labels and ask questions, be aware of general answers & understand that unfortunately some schemes are more about the marketing & pretty labels than the animal welfare (see here for details
). For example Red Tractor guarantees British, but not necessarily very high standards of welfare.
More people buying higher welfare fresh pork is fab to see, but we would like to spread this word & thoughts further, many of the UK's favourite “meats” are from processed pork, bacon, ham & sausages. Start checking your labels & asking some close questions and you might get a bit of a scare, aside from the salt and the "E numbers" your processed pork product is much more likely to have been factory farmed and, or, from abroad. Why is this bad? Well apart from the fact that the UK's pig farmers need all the support they can get & the unnecessary food miles, farming standards vary wildly. A cry we often find ourselves muttering is "Not all meat is created equal".
So next pork pie, pepperoni pizza, bacon butty or ham & pickle sandwich you buy - check its happy pork, if nothing else, your taste buds and health will thank you, as, better raised pork has more flavour it tends to need less processing & if someone cares enough to use high welfare pork your probably going to find they care enough to make sure it tastes just fab. Next time you see that piece of heart or liver in the butchers window, snap it up and try a new recipe.
So take the PIG PLEDGE
and remember bacon, salami, ham & sausages are pigs too!