Always a tricky balance this one – weighing-up the despatch of animals to which we’ve become very attached against the acquisition of a freezer full of wholesome, delicious and (hopefully) ethically agreeable food.
Whilst we’ve always been concerned about food created through intensive farming – favouring locally reared, chemical-free, organically fed and free-range alternatives – we are, nonetheless, both committed and enthusiastic carnivores, with a keen interest in sourcing quality meat products of all kinds. With this in mind, the natural next step for us was to involve ourselves directly in the creation of at least some of the meat we were eating, which is why started keeping pigs some ten or so years ago.
To us, it’s a pretty straightforward contract between diner and pig. We get to enjoy delicious tucker but, in return, we undertake to raise animals in the most sympathetic manner possible, in a comfortable and stimulating home environment, filled with the best organic feed, fresh fruit & veggies straight from the garden – and with ear-scratches and belly rubs on tap.
Simple enough to deliver but sadly still quite a rare method of production – particularly in the case of pork – which beggars belief really as, aside from any moral considerations, our experience has been that this form of pig husbandry results in the most incredibly sweet and toothsome pork.
Of course, to many, the main consideration here is that this particular production method is far from cheap; however, in our opinion, cost is absolutely no defence for the terrible conditions which many animals must endure, simply to allow supermarkets to make money by selling low quality meat at artificially low prices – it’s unstainable on pretty much every level.
So, for what it’s worth, here’s our message. If your circumstances allow, enjoy food that is produced locally and to high welfare standards – even if it costs you a little more. The likelihood is that the chaps you’re buying from aren’t quoted on the stock exchange and won’t be zooming around in a Rolls-Royce any time soon – but they’ll make sure that the meat you’re eating had the very best of lives before it started the journey to your plate.
And if it means that you only get to tuck into that pile of sizzling bangers once a week rather than every other day, is that really too great a price to pay?