Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pig Is Pork

We picked up the pork from the butcher yesterday.  How enjoyable it was to see the culmination of a summer's work!  

On the way home, my daughter and I discussed a passage in Clabbered Dirt, Sweet Grass about how, when an animal is butchered, our perception of it changes.  A pig becomes pork.  A cow becomes beef.  A deer becomes venison.  And a chicken stays chicken, but in your head it changes from a feathered, clucking chicken to chicken dinner.    

To raise your own meat you have to have this mind set.  I saw an interview where Joel Salatin talks about how, in today's society, most people's only interaction with animals is with household pets.  Because of this, there's a tendency towards anthropomorphism  - an attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior - to all animals.

Does not having the disconnect between field to plate and this anthropomorphic idea of all animals allow the factory farm to flourish?  Does people not being close to their food allow them to not see it as a living breathing animal to which they "relate"?  The factory farm is the perfect tool to allow the disconnect to not occur.  Yes, you know there are animals that are being horribly treated, but how can that reality relate to this  sterile, plastic-wrapped package of pork chops in the grocery store?

Ah well.  It's time for me to get off my Sunday soap box.  But it's something to think about.  


  1. Our pet mentality about animals is so common nowadays, that I see it as a real stumbling block for folks desiring to homestead. It starts by giving all of one's animals names. They have to have names, don't they. It's true, if one has never had chickens, or goats, or pigs, they are terribly fascinating and highly amusing. But we chose not to name our animals (except the dairy goats and cats) for that very reason.

    The other thing I'm realizing, is that animals don't have our same perception of death and life. We view life as the better and more desirable of the two, but I wonder if that isn't just a human perception. We have lost the knowledge that there is purpose and meaning in death as well as in life.

  2. We name our cats and dogs, and the occasional outstanding rooster like Pants On The Ground who was killed by a red tailed hawk. But we've become accustomed to the fact that all of our animals are free range and there are predators out there. We lose cats and we lose chickens. Pigs are named, but it's tongue-in-cheek names like Pork Chop.

  3. Speaking of Pork Chop, I'd like to place my order for another one next year!

    - Larry