Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Three Big Pigs

First a word about the house sale. SCREAM no news!!!!! We still don't know whether the sale will go ahead, but we will definitely know by the weekend. This is proving very unsettling and is affecting my ability to concentrate on anything, and thats bad enough at the best of times! So fingers crossed for good news soon.

Back to the Three Little Pigs.

By October we had three BIG pigs and as I said last time all good things must come to an end. We had found a retired butcher who had already slaughtered some lambs for us and he would come to the farm to slaughter and butcher two of the pigs .

Caroline, vegetarians and people of a sensitive nature should read no further!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I mentionned before I like to read up on a subject first and killing a pig was no different. I was however rather worried by the description in the book. I know that pigs in slaughter houses, after being killed by a captive bolt, are dipped briefly into boiling water to get rid of the bristles. The book gave the slaughter method as follows: place the pig on the slaughter table and slit its throat, catch the much prized blood[for black pudding] in a bucket, then using a block and tackle lower the pig into a large oil drum full of nearly boiling water to remove the bristles, having heated the water by means of a large wood fire round the drum to a fairly specific temperature!!!!

I could see immediate problems with everything except the block and tackle[we had a front end loader on the tractor which would lift the pig carcass with ease] everything else looked like the stuff of nightmares!!!!! I have already said that a pig will squeal if you just look at it so the thought of trying to manhandle a large screaming pig onto a table seemed an impossibility. And how could we find a large enough oil drum let alone get it filled with nearly boiling water? The Butcher had not asked for anything special for the day he was due to come so I had to hope that he would bring whatever was neccessary, but I spent many sleepless nights worrying about the whole terrifying scenario as described in the book and the thought of a nasty end for our two pigs.

The day finally arrived, we had bought one of the pigs in to a pigsty overnight and we awaited the Butcher. I felt awful, my imagination was running away with me and it seemed impossible that the pig could be dealt with humanely, my main concern was that the pig should not suffer because of our ineptitude.

Not for the first[or last] time I had worried for nothing. The most traumatic moment of the whole event was the OH trying to slip a rope round the back leg of the pig. Not because the pig objected particularly but because the OH is left handed or should that be cack handed and made a real meal of this simple task. After that the pig followed me out of the sty and as she was eating an apple the Butcher dispatched her instantly with a captive bolt. She didn't feel a thing and hadn't squealed at all. Removing the bristles was equally simple, he used a large gas powered blow torch!!!!

All my panicking had been completely unneccessary. The Butcher returned next day to turn the carcass into chops, joints, sausage meat and all manner of delicious goodies. The second pig was slaughtered a few weeks later leaving us with Daisy to breed from the following year.

Our friends were very happy to help us eat the large amount of meat that comes from a pig and were astounded by the flavour of naturally reared and humanely slaughtered meat. It has to be tasted to be appreciated and is far superior to mass reared meat.

I could accept the slaughter of our animals at the farm because I knew that they had a good quality of life and that the end was swift, painless and stress free. It was more difficult to send animals away to the Abbatoir but with the lambs it was unavoidable. When it came to sending a pig then that proved distressing, but more of that later.

For the time being we had a freezer full of delicious meat and a sow who would provide us with piglets. Now where is that book, what do we do next?

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I read no further ... so the pigs are all fine and happy????

My eyes flicked on slaughter house ....

Oh no! OH NO!!!!!!!