Monday, 13 February 2012

We are what we eat

I was all geared up to write another happy post about life on the farm. The hilarities of trying to get our gilt ‘in pig’ and the hatching of 14 and counting chicks over the last seven days. But something has halted me in my tracks.

Whilst trailing through the tweets of time on Twitter I came across a really disturbing video. It was harrowing. I could not even watch it all the way through. Once I clicked ‘stop’ I then sat with the images in my head for a while wondering what to do with them. I am not a ‘scare monger’ and do not wish to shock anyone but what I saw is a story that must be told and, I am sorry to say, one that is repeated everyday, in this country and all over the world time and time again. I almost implore you not to watch it… I hate things like these.

The video shows the workings of a pork farm in Norfolk. I beg you, even if you cannot watch it, to really think about the next piece of meat you take off the supermarket shelf. Read the label, ask the question. The farm in the video is a ‘Quality Assured’ Red Tractor farm. This symbol is not enough. I cannot stress to you more, the importance of buying meat from small producers who love and respect their animals. Whose animals are kept in a natural environment with land to roam and sun on their backs. Who are cared for and nurtured, and most importantly, where YOU can go and see them, should you so wish. Reconnect with your food. We are in the middle of a food revolution in this country, and you are never far from a really good meat producer or from an outlet that stocks their meat.

Think about what you buy and where it has come from, even if you don’t want to because it’s uncomfortable. Just try. It maybe a little more inconvenient. It may be a little more expensive (although not always the case), but can you really stomach the alternative? Picture the animal whilst it was alive and think about the producer you’re buying from, and the retail outlet. Put these words in your head as you reach for that packet of sausages, or Sunday joint… Do you know where it’s come from?

I don’t mean to be dark and sinister about this. After all, when you do source happy meat from well looked after animals the difference is easy to spot. It tastes fantastic!!
Watch if you want.. it’s not pleasant viewing..

It’s now the 14th Feb.. the following day after writing this blog post. I have decided to take off the video showing the pig farm in Norfolk. It’s too disturbing.. if I cannot watch it then why should I ask other people to. For those of you who want to watch it I’m sure you’ll be able to tract it down, for the rest of you, you can imagine the sort of video I’m talking about.

It is not something I want Park Mill Farm to be associated with at all, even if it is pointing out the other end of the spectrum to how we think. I firmly believe in the values that we have here at the farm and am totally dedicated to ensuring that not only does the produce we grow and rear here taste fantastic but that every animal on the farm is treated with the utmost respect and love. I care. I never want to stop caring. I never want to eat meat from animals that have been subjected to cruelty, pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones or kept from roaming free. I refuse to buy something that I disagree with purely because it’s convenient and been wrapped up and glossed over by a massive corporation. Human beings are blessed with being the most powerful species on the planet, we total abuse that power when we commit atrosities like these. We are, in this country, priveledged enough to choose what we put in our mouths – and that goes for everyone.

Whilst I don’t expect everyone to be able to change their shopping habits very easily, it would be really great if everyone just thought a little more about what they are buying. Think about whether, in their heart of hearts they can justify the journey that that animal took to arrive in their hands. If you can, it’s your choice and is to be respected. I’m not here to dictate or judge. Merely to point out there is a choice here and as with all choices you need to have all the information at hand to make the correct one.

Here endeth the lesson…