My lit­tle pig­gies go to mar­ket (and I go waah, waah, waah all the way home)

Veg­e­tar­ian farmer re­veals her tears for lost pork­ers

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - EXCLUSIVE - By Judy Vick­ers mail@sun­day­

A VEG­E­TAR­IAN pig farmer has re­vealed her heartache over send­ing her pork­ers off to the big butcher shop in the sky.

Michelle An­der­son-Car­roll is told the sausages and ba­con from her rare breed pig­gies are de­li­cious, but she’ll never know.

And, she ad­mits, if some of her beloved Ox­ford Sandy and Blacks look re­luc­tant when be­ing sent off to slaugh­ter, they win a re­prieve.

She said: “We never put them un­der pres­sure or stress. If they won’t load, they don’t go.”

And she ad­mits feel­ing heart­bro­ken and a lit­tle tear­ful when they do head off.

“At the slaugh­ter-house they go down a cor­ri­dor on a mov­ing floor and around a cor­ner to be stunned so they are none the wiser – but it is still very hard.”

While it may seem an odd ca­reer choice for a veg­e­tar­ian, she says it is pre­cisely be­cause she is so keen on an­i­mal wel­fare that she has be­come a pig farmer.

She gave up meat when she was 11 in re­sponse to the out­cry over the poor con­di­tions and long jour­neys for an­i­mals be­ing trans­ported to slaugh­ter.

A for­mer NHS reg­is­tered

‘ We never stress them. If they won’t load, they don’t go.

op­er­at­ing depart­ment prac­ti­tioner, she and her hus­band bought 20 acres of land near In­ver­ness three years ago and turned it into River Croft farm af­ter she re­ceived a lit­i­ga­tion pay-out.

She said: “We got a cou­ple of pigs to help turn over the soil and im­prove it.

“I fell com­pletely in love with them so we started to breed them. I’m just a pi­ga­holic now.

“If I wanted to eat meat, I wouldn’t hes­i­tate to eat ours.

“I have tried to eat meat now and then over the last few years but I just don’t like the tex­ture.

“But I am a re­al­ist. There is no chance on earth peo­ple are go­ing to stop eat­ing meat and I would rather they ate meat like ours rather than mass- pro­duced pork be­cause the con­di­tions those pigs live in is ap­palling.”

The 45- year-old picked Ox­ford Sandy and Blacks be­cause they are hairy, hardy and tough enough to sur­vive out­doors in the High­lands.

“They are per­fect for be­gin­ners – they are re­ally docile for pigs.

“Our boar rolls over like a dog to have his belly scratched.

“They look great so that helps to en­gage the pub­lic in what I am try­ing to do – they look like they are wear­ing on­sies.

“There are only around 300 in ex­is­tence so there are more pan­das on the planet than there are of these sort of pigs.

“With­out a food out­let they wouldn’t have a pur­pose – they would be­come ex­tinct.”

Only a hand­ful of farm­ers in Scot­land keep the breed these days but while they might have fallen out of fashion in favour of cheaper, more in­ten­sively pro­duced pork, they may well be mak­ing a come­back.

“I sold 42 piglets this sea­son, which was 15 short of what peo­ple were ask­ing for – I can’t keep up with de­mand ,” Michelle says.

And de­spite her veg­e­tar­ian cre­den­tials, she uses her pigs to ed­u­cate young­sters who visit the farm about where their meat comes from.

“We get them to point to the bit of the pig where the ba­con comes from.

“Peo­ple of­ten say, ‘ Urgh, I don’t want to know about that’, but you should know.”

■ Michelle’s Ox­ford Sandy and Blacks play with a sheep down on the farm.

■ Michelle with one of her beloved piglets on the farm last week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.