Making Meat a Treat…

Driving the kids to school last week, radio blaring, I became aware of a bit of a polemic brewing . The subject ? The slaughter of an innocent wild boar for televisual purposes. Now one could easily imagine I’d be on the boars side, but sorry porky, not this time. Maybe I should elaborate on the circumstances that provoked the horror of NRJ’s morning presenters and their guests…

A television company sent sixteen volunteers (including two cameramen and a producer) to an inhospitable South American island and dumped them for three weeks. They were given forty litres of water, a machete and a radio to call for help if they wished to leave before time. There were no fanfares or prizes, it wasn’t a game show but an exercise in survival.

Nine chaps went the distance, drinking t-shirt filtered mud and eating, it was later estimated, the calorific content of one average meal over the course of the challenge. On the penultimate day however, making the rounds of the traps they’d built and set over the previous weeks, they discovered at the bottom of a pit one young boar. Well I don’t know about anyone else, but if I go more than half a day without sustanance things start getting a little ragged. So it seemed – to me anyway – perfectly comprehensible that after dicussion they hauled out the beast, swiftly slaughtered it and lit the barbie.

But no, a kind of fluffy bunny syndrome seemed to have bitten the arses of the radio presenters subsuming all sense . Truly shocked and disgusted at such appalling brutality they decried both the men concerned and the production company. As the guests added their support the discussion became increasingly confused and I, enraged. Every person present in the studio was a confirmed meat eater, but when one slightly more illuminated voice pointed this out he was met with the response that of course the meat one buys in a supermarket is bred for the purpose, therefore totally different and, wait for it, acceptable.

What ? Now this is maybe why I don’t listen to or watch much media these days – I began hollering at an inanimate object – oh lordy squirmed the kids. But crikey are there really still people on this planet who have no idea of the horrors of intensive animal farming ? How does the presentation of a clean pork chop, plastic wrapped make the butchering of another poor piggy a morally superior action ?

I used to be a vegetarian. After thirteen years abstinance I began eating fish and another couple later meat slid back onto the menu. I’m not proud, but I do enjoy it. Recently though both of my girls have expressed an interest in giving it up. I put them off – family meals are so much easier with meat, and have you ever tried eating out as a vegetarian in France ? But I am beginning to think that as smallholders surely we should be practising what we preach – this planet doesn’t need industrial animal farming any more than we do. So the other half and I had a bit of a parly and have decided that henceforth we shall not be purchasing animal products from the supermarket. We shall eat the meat we can produce, swap cheese for what we don’t and make the most of what we have. If we really, really want a juicy steak then we should pay the price and support small organic butchers – surely it would taste all the better if we knew it had been raised humanely ?

As our friend Bill said the other day, ‘ I don’t know about meat free monday – meaty monday makes more sense.’ I think he’s got a point.



’til next week,



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