Friday, 30 January 2009
And then there was one
Listening to: Rocket to Russia (Ramones)
I took four of the porkers to the slaughterhouse in Kirkwall yesterday. Everything was, by our standards, straightforward.
Marcus turned up at 8am to help me get the lads loaded up into the trailer and without his expert help I might have struggled. DeeDee Ramone was the only porker not making the trip and, typically, he was the keenest to clamber aboard the tumbril.
We tempted, pushed, prodded and cajoled the four lads and eventually they decided they like the look of the trailer and waddled in, leaving DeeDee (easily the smallest of the batch) looking a little forlorn until he noticed I'd put his breakfast down.
A 'lively' hour-and-a-half crossing to Orkney Mainland and the usual battle with Kirkwall's seemingly endless roadworks led us to the slaughterhouse.
If you saw some of upsetting scenes on Jamie Oliver's pig programme last night, you'll be pleased that Orkney Meat is a very professional and - as far as it's possible - humane abattoir. The lads trotted out of the trailer and into a large, light, very clean, very spacious shed where there was a pen ready for them with plenty of clean straw. They were as good as gold, Johnny Ramone holding things up a little by stopping to check out every other pig in the place.
It was almost peaceful. I've been in rowdier libraries. The animals are kept quiet and calm before being killed so quickly they don't know what's happening to them.
I drove away, trying not to let the lump in my throat turn into the burning sensation in my eyes, but happy that the lads were well treated right to the end.
Incidentally, if you did see the Jamie Oliver show (if you didn't I recommend you do watch it on Channel 4 OD) and you're not happy about the pork you buy in the supermarkets then I'd be only too happy to sell you some. We have one pig's worth of pork left.
If you're not on Orkney then I recommend you have a look at the
British Saddleback Breeders' Club website (I've fixed the link now).
There are breeders all over the place and most will either have pork of their own to sell (if you buy half or a whole pig you will get a very good deal) or they will be able to point you in the right direction.