Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Pigs – What you can do to help them

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Pigs | 6 comments

  • All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke.

The good news is that all us good, kind people CAN do something. We all havBe their voicee a choice about what to support and what not to support – through the choices we make at the shops, what we cook and how we spread the word about doing the right thing by these smart, funny animals.

We can start by familiarising ourselves with :

Kinder alternatives
Buy free range / organic pig products but do make sure they are properly accredited.

The properly accredited products are made from pigs who spend their lives outdoors doing what pigs do and are never imprisoned in sow stalls / farrowing crates. The farmers who care for them ensure that minimum transportation times (from farm to abattoir) are adhered to, they do not use growth hormones / promotants and their pigs are not subjected to tail docking or teeth clipping or castration without pain relief.  The farms are regularly inspected and their stocking densities monitored. These farms are generally significantly more in tune with environmental concerns too such as adequate pasture rotation to prevent soil degradation and pollution.

 

The following suppliers / farms are particularly worthy of note for their exemplary care of their pigs and land and their commitment to selling true free range products with no ambiguity.  Many sell small, speciality goods too like chorizio and salami. They are sold on line, specialist butchers, suppliers and at farmers markets around Australia.

NSW
•    Feather and Bone, Marrickville sells Melanda Park
•    Pasture Perfect
•    Free Range Butcher  sells
Limerick Free Range
•    Urban Food Market, Marrickville sells
Oakleigh Pasture Pork and Esk River Free Range.
•    Bundarra Berkshires
•    Ormiston Free Range Pork
•    Graze and Flavour
•    Mayfield Farm Produce
•    Buena Vista Farm
•    Dr Earth sells a variety of free range pork products. As does :
•    Summerhill Organic Fruit Market (162 Old Canterbury Rd, Summer Hill).

VICTORIA

•    Greenvale Farm sells to many cafes and restaurants in and around Melbourne.
•    Fernleigh Free Range
•   The Gypsy Pig
•    Gippsland Pastured Meat
•    Wooragee Quality Free Range Pork
•    Jonai Farms. The owner’s of this farm have a fascinating blog about starting up as ethical, free range pig farmers. Highly recommended.

Greta Valley Free Range Pork

King Valley Free Range Pork
Yarra Valley Free Range Pork
Western Plains Pork
TASMANIA
•    Rare Food  – free range pork pies, sausages etc at Salamanca Markets.
•    Mount Gnomon Farm
•    Nicholls Rivulet Organic Farm
•    Black Ridge Farm
•    Crofton Lea Farm

QUEENSLAND
•    Gooralie Free Range Pork (NB Bred free range)
•    Tillari Trotters Free Range Pork

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
•    Benara Farm
•    Spencers Brook Farm
•    Linley Valley Pork

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
•    Minniribbie Farm

If you are going to eat pork products, please support the Australian farmers who are doing the right thing by their animals and land. Yes, the products are significantly more expensive than the mass produced, supermarket stuff so just eat less of it, less frequently.
Don’t forget the power of the wallet ! It is the consumer that pushes the demand for cheap meat and also the informed consumer who insists on changes.

The demand for “humane” meat is increasing and, on the surface, this is a good thing surely. However, please remember that the pig who supplies your free range bacon, in the majority of cases, still ends up in the same abattoir as the factory farmed pig. They will still face the fear of their impending death, be subject to errors in the killing process and are still, in the majority of cases, not protected by CCTV footage which leads to the types of cruelty captured in February 2012 at the Hawkesbury Meat Processors.

However, many of the suppliers / farms mentioned above do claim to take extra care when it comes to the day when their pigs are slaughtered by transporting their pigs themselves to the abattoir and some have voluntarily installed CCTV cameras in their facilities (such as Wollondilly Abattoir where pigs from Melanda Park are sent).

The labelling system in Australia is very ambiguous and makes it deliberately difficult to decipher what exactly you are buying. Just how “free range” and “ethical” is the product you are buying? Doing your research (helped along, hopefully, by my information) is vital if you want to source the kindest option.

Cafes and Restaurants who serve Free Range pig products
RSPCA’s “choose wisely” initiative, allows you to search for cafes and restaurants who use “humanely sourced” pig products (and eggs and chicken).

Other cafes / restaurants (Sydney and surrounds only at this stage) I am aware of who are doing the right thing in terms of sourcing free range pig (and other) products are :

•    Cafe Bones, Haberfield

•    Bishop Sessa, Surry Hills
•    Sixpenny, Stanmore
•    Cornersmith : 314 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville
•    Petty Cash Cafe : 68 Victoria Rd, Marrickville
•    Agape, Botany
•    Bar H, Surry Hills
•    The Hungry Duck, Berry

Please let me know about your favourite eatery who serves “humanely” sourced pork products.

The Ethical Consumer Guide is another handy guide which rates pig products found at supermarkets :

Kindest Alternative

Not to eat any pig products. Simple.

I’ve taken this option. I do not want to eat an animal which is more intelligent than my clever dog and one that is subject to so much human abuse. This includes a happy, free range pig as I have zero faith in any abattoir guaranteeing a pain, fear free death. Plus obviously, I want them to live and not die for a mere meal which I will have forgotten 5 minutes after eating it. One more thing….there are some excellent alternatives…which do taste scarily bacon-y !

Vegi / Vegan alternatives

•    Asian grocery shops have a huge array of mock meats. Ham is one of them.
•    Sanitarium Bacon. Readily available at the supermarket.
•    Redwood “Bacon”.

So…..What else can you do ??

o    Take the kinder or kindest option when eating and encourage friends and relatives to do the same.

o    Get letter writing Politicians, supermarkets and fast food outlets such as MacDonalds are a good start. Here is my email to Katrina Hodgkinson and Joe Ludwig – no reply to date, surprise, surprise ! Here is my response from MacDonalds to a feedback form I completed questioning their use of pork from suppliers who use sow stalls.

o    Take one of the pledges at Animals Australia and join the 100,000 (and rising) plus others Australians who have pledged to either donate, eat fewer animal products, go meat free or refuse factory farmed meat in a campaign to end factory farming.

o    Attend protests / meetings to give your voice an outlet and meet up with similarly minded people. Embrace people power ! Melbourne Pig Save is a great source of information so “like” them on facebook to keep informed.Edgars Pig

o    Join / donate to organisations such as Voiceless and Animals Australia  to stay informed and educated about these issues.

o    Don’t let your vigilance drop when you travel overseas. Many countries overseas have even lower welfare standards than ours towards pigs so do your research or, safest option, go veg whilst travelling !IMGP6928

o   Sponsor a pig at one of the wonderful animal sanctuaries around the country such as Edgar’s Mission, Brightside and Peanuts Funny Farm.

o    Don’t forget that pig products are hidden in foods. As a lover of Japan, ramen comes to mind when I think of hidden pork products  – ie) in the stock.

o    Reward the pig farmers and restaurants / cafes who are doing the right thing with your patronage. Avoid the others.

News / Articles of interest

•    Tasmania’s disappointing back flip :

•    Why I won’t be eating ham this christmas.

•    Encouraging news from Coles.

•   Finally we are on the brink of calling for a halt to factory farming

6 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Bettina

    Well done, Ingy! It’s because of people like you that we are being educated to make informed choices and take action. Animals have no voice but thanks to you and organisations like Animals Australia they can be “heard”. B xox

  2. William

    Very interesting.No more pork sausages for me.

  3. Allison

    Hi Ing,
    I am a mum & animal lover with an interest in agriculture who recently went on a holiday to the beautiful Whitsundays where I had the privilege of visiting a pig farm which I think should be included on your list. The owner of Whitsunday Berkshire Gold is a biologist with an interest in genetics who runs Berkshire pigs on pasture and also breeds Beefalo meat (fascinating!) which is a cross between American Bison and conventional bovine bloodlines. She has a real passion & love for her animals; she tries to emulate their natural living conditions as much as possible. I observed sows with litters of piglets lounging luxuriously in sheds on straw before wandering out to the paddock to feed. It was a refreshing change from the other 95% of the pork industry (figure quoted from Christina) which is intensively farmed in sheds (although I’ve heard a lot is changing in the industry). Christina was more than happy to show me around. She sells from various farmer’s markets around the Whitsunday area. Check out her websites http://www.berkshirepigs.com.au and http://www.beefaloaustralia.com. Pork a la naturelle!
    Thanks for your interesting articles & links…very informative.

    Allison

    • admin

      Hi Alison, thanks so much for commenting and I appreciate your feedback. This blog is a forum for me to learn too so it is great to hear about your recommendations. I do want to do a post on beef / feedlots so I will definately be checking out Christina’s business. She sounds like the type of farmer that we need more of ! Ing x

  4. Allison

    So I think we can eat meat, including pork; I will just be making a big effort to find out where my meat comes from. I will be buying in bulk from the farmer. Many now sell from the farm gate or online where you can buy in bulk (cheaper!) and some even deliver. Pasture or grass fed is the best as animals fed on grain (ie cattle in feedlots) have a different nutritional profile in the meat which negatively affects our health. Farmers like Christina (above) are also more involved and aware of the stress of transport & certain methods of despatching the animals so they are able to make sure their animals are treated as humanely as possible with the least amount of stress to the animal as possible.

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