Monday, 15 December 2008

Tommy Ramone's last journey

Listening to: ZZ Top

Tough day for the pig "farmer" tomorrow, even tougher for one of his pigs. It's slaughter time.

The biggest of the porkers will be loaded up tomorrow morning, ready for the trip that will end in him joining us (and several other Westray families) for Christmas dinner.

I've been through this once before, last June when Eric and Ernie fulfilled their destiny, and it doesn't look like getting any easier.

If anything it's harder as I've known this batch of pigs since birth. I've spent so many hours with them, I know each one of them and I've got maybe a bit too close. I have this mad urge to rush into the pigshed and give him a hug.

My hilarious friends have long been of the opinion that I'm too soft-hearted for livestock farming, but I suppose it's inevitable to feel this way when I have only a few animals on our little eight-acre croft. A proper farmer with 100-plus cattle or sheep and a lifetime's experience must find it easier to be less sentimental about his beasts.

I'm not about to go all veggie (if you have an hour or five, I'll bore you with the argument), but I'm having to convince myself that I'd rather have my Christmas dinner from a pig that I know has been well-cared for, has had warm, dry straw to sleep on every night, has been well fed and watered, has had regular back scratches and tickles behind the ears, has had plenty of room to snuffle around in and goes to slaughter in tip-top condition.


fiwa said...

I'm sorry Malc. It is hard to have such a big heart. I would make the trip with you if I could.

garfer said...

I do not eat my friends.

Unless they are healthy porkers who don't give a snuffle for turkey.

Donn Coppens said...

You're a good man.

KAZ said...

I don't eat meat - but I agree with the point you're making here.

I, Like The View said...

I do hope you gave them a hug and one last tickle behind the ears

zIggI said...


It must be very hard.

susi said...

It isn't easy - I know from taking the lambs to the butcher - but the important things are that the pigs have had good lives and that they are killed quickly and painlessly.

It's not wrong to raise animals for meat - what's wrong is factory farming and cruelty in the pusuit of cheap meat.

moreidlethoughts said...

There is also some scientific (and a helluva lot of personal) evidence for well-raised, farm-killed meat.
And, just for the record, even farmers with more land and stock still, if they are good farmers, don't find it "easy' to send beasts to slaughter.
Carry on, young Malc.

Arcadian Advocate said...

Well, take heart we just fed one of our fattened pigs to 70 for my birthday party on Saturday, froze some of the rest and gave some joints and sausages away as Christmas presents.
You get really great pork from a pig who had a good life.
All our beef and lamb is the same.
These rare and native breeds would not carry on unless there is sound economics behind the raising of livestock and that involvesm eat production.
We tend to make more fuss of the breeding pigs and slightly keep our distance from the fatteners, however by the time they go they all come to us for tickles and scratches and we do make sure they are well looked after and content.

elizabethm said...

I think I would find it hard too in a necessary kind of way. Bet the meat will be really great though. And they have had the best kind of piggy life by the sounds of it.

Z said...

You've got more moral courage than most meat-eaters, and you're doing all you can to equate your lifestyle with your personal convictions. I don't think it'll ever get easy, but you may be able to prepare yourself better as time goes by.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I gather you are not butching the pig yourself. That is the real test of whether you have become a farmer yet.

I do not eat my own animals. I exchange animals with a neighbour.

Zabigdog said...

Good man; sweet piggy. Hope it was an okay day, after all.

Sian said...

A good life and a swift end - what more could people or porkers ask for.....

Malc said...


Thanks for the thought, but it's not a trip anyone should really volunteer for.


Those porkers are very wise - turkey is so very over-rated.


That's what I keep telling everyone, but will they listen?


I've often wondered about vegetarianism, but I'm too much if a died-in-the-wool meat-eater. This whole livestock thing is just a way of making myself feel better.


Of course I did.


It's tough, but I chose this lifestyle, so I have to pull myself together and get on with it.


Couldn't have put it better myself. If everyone paid a fair price for meat, we might be able to make a little money from farming.


No farmer I know finds it easy.


The pork from our pigs is the best I've tasted.


I like to think the time and effort I put in pays off in more than one way.


That's a terrific compliment, thank you. I'll do my best in future not to get quite so close.


I am doing the butching as it happens - a great way to make sure your friends and neighbours get exactly what they want.


Everything went smoothly - quick and quiet.


Spot on - would that it was always so.