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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 13-Nov-14 16:40:01

Where does your food come from?

Do you know where your meat came from? How it was farmed? What condition the animal was in before slaughter? Paul Hensby, a staunch Farms Not Factories supporter, urges integrity when choosing your meat - especially pork - and suggests family farms as a healthier alternative, both for humans and for the environment.

Paul Hensby

Where does your food come from?

Posted on: Thu 13-Nov-14 16:40:01


Lead photo

A family farmed pig is a happier pig...

The theme for 2014's World Food Day was family farms. Ironic, as the fallacious view that the only way we can feed the world's growing population is by making our agriculture more industrial, is gaining ground. This is thanks in no small part to the efforts put in by companies who stand to make lots of money by selling chemical herbicides, pesticides and growth hormones that will in the long term destroy the planet's ability to grow food, as well as poisoning consumers.

Family farms should be supported because they are normally at the opposite end of the spectrum from factory farms, and nowhere is this more evident than in producing pork.

Factory farms are almost always intensive. This means the pigs are crammed in as little space as possible. Pigs are naturally social and energetic animals, and in a natural environment walk around for several miles in a day foraging, exploring and engaging with other pigs.

In a factory farm with no space they get stressed and quickly get ill. To prevent or cure their illnesses they are given antibiotics. Bacteria become immune to antibiotics so stronger antibiotics are used. This gets in the food chain, as does the growth hormones they are given.

So, in a factory farm with no space they get stressed and quickly get ill. To prevent or cure their illnesses they are given antibiotics. Bacteria become immune to antibiotics so stronger antibiotics are used. This gets in the food chain, as does the growth hormones they are given. Part of the cause of antibiotic resistant bacteria comes from their intensive use in factory farming, and this is now having serious consequences for human health.

Lots of pigs in a confined area produce very unhealthy effluent which, despite the claims of the factory farming industry, pollute the air, land and water close (and not so close) to the factory farms.

So, regardless of your feelings for the welfare of pigs, think about the damage factory reared pork does to our health and that of the planet. Family farms are more likely to be the ones you see when driving around the countryside where the pigs have lots of outdoor space and sizable pens in which to sleep, rest and give birth. It may sound silly, but the pigs are happier and healthier. And what's not silly is that the pork tastes far better than factory produced meat. Ok, a bit more expensive, but isn't it worth it?

I understand a lot about the evils of factory farming and virtues of high welfare farms due to my friendship with Tracy Worcester who has campaigned against factory farming for years. Visit her website, to find out more, and sign the pig pledge to show your support.

By Paul Hensby

Twitter: @PigBusiness

whitewave Thu 13-Nov-14 16:42:53

A local butchers if I have time where the provenance is indicated on the label - but failing that I always try to buy organic free range as this I hope give the animal the best life before death.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 13-Nov-14 16:49:46

Granny. eggs. suck.

angry. Come on! hmm

FlicketyB Thu 13-Nov-14 17:28:07

Organic, near organic and local. With the exception of organic chicken, which I buy in Waitrose as I cannot find a local supplier, the rest of my meat is bought from the shop of the farm that rears the animals I eat.

When eating out I do not eat chicken or pork, even though that often restricts my choice, unless provenance is given on the menu, because these are the two animals whose rearing conditions are most likely to be inhumane.

Before someone comes up with the 'it is alright for those who can afford organic' argument. We eat lots of casseroles and stews, always have, and I bulk these up with vegetables so that 1lb of meat is sufficient to feed 6 - 8 people. We also eat a lot of meat-free meals based on legumes, eggs and cheese. Tonight we are having a mushroom risotto.

merlotgran Thu 13-Nov-14 17:53:03

I agree with jingl.

I hope Sarah Wellard enjoys reading all the posts telling her she's preaching to the converted.

Spare a thought for the financially hard pressed working mums who haven't got time or money to trot around farmers' markets and local butchers.

Ana Thu 13-Nov-14 17:53:13

I'm sure we've had a similar thread to this very recently, haven't we? confused

It just ends up as a list of what type of meat (or not) GNs buy and gives us all a platform on which to air our organic and cruelty-free credentials...

durhamjen Thu 13-Nov-14 22:10:57

Vegetarian credentials even better. Do not have the problem of where I source my meat.

FlicketyB Fri 14-Nov-14 06:42:41

But what about the living conditions and economic welfare of the humans who grow, harvest and transport your vegetables?

kittylester Fri 14-Nov-14 07:10:15

I'm with jingl too!

thatbags Fri 14-Nov-14 08:15:20

Team Jingle. I get fed up with food-preaching too.

Marmight Fri 14-Nov-14 08:37:11

Are we back in Primary School? I'm with Team Jingle too.......

whitewave Fri 14-Nov-14 08:43:04

Doesn't hurt to remind us though of the inhumane treatment that goes on. If just 1 GN whose hasn't given it any thought up to date begins to think about farming methods that is good.

nightowl Fri 14-Nov-14 08:49:03

I agree with you whitewave.

There are those that already know, those that know and don't care, those that don't want to know, but there are always a few that really don't know but do care and they are the ones that can make a difference.

Iam64 Fri 14-Nov-14 09:40:28

Team whitewall, flicketyB and night owl for me, if we're taking sides that is grin

FlicketyB makes a good point about the living and working conditions of those who work in the food industry. What's not to like about trying to improve conditions for human and other animals.

vegasmags Fri 14-Nov-14 10:19:10

I'm all for trying to improve conditions, but what I find so disheartening about attempts to shop ethically, whether for food, clothing or other goods, is that you have to take so much on trust. Perhaps I am just turning into a weary old cynic, but we can never really be sure if we are being told the truth.

whitewave Fri 14-Nov-14 10:38:46

veg mustn't stop us keep trying though. What else can we do?

FlicketyB Fri 14-Nov-14 15:57:31

Trust is why I try to buy meat locally. I can drive past the field with my Christmas turkey running round in it any day I like. My pork comes from a butcher who breeds and slaughters his own animals. The same with lamb and pork. I have a big freezer and only buy meat every few months so it is not time consuming. My pork butcher has an online presence and will deliver.

Buying good quality meat like this I can be sure that those involved with it production also get their fair reward.

My attempts to be ethical on a wider front boil down to avoiding shopping in certain chains; Tesco and Primark for example, and I am not really comfortable about using Aldi & Lidl, the prices are low, but at whose expense? Fortunately there isn't a branch of either within 15 miles so I do not need to do anything practical about them

alex57currie Fri 14-Nov-14 20:28:54

Read recently that the continual use of GMO crops will in the near future nulify attempts to grow and farm organically.

durhamjen Fri 14-Nov-14 20:35:33

Exactly, Alex, and not just that. When the TTIP gets passed we will find this country inundated with Monsanto, etc., taking out writs against the government for trying to stop it making the profits it thinks it should get from growing GM crops in this country.

durhamjen Fri 14-Nov-14 20:39:30

Vegasmags, I try to check on Ethical Consumer when I need to buy anything I'm not sure of.

Atqui Sat 15-Nov-14 11:35:29

If Sarah is preaching to only one unconverted person , she will be doing a good job. No one has to read her article.

Mishap Sat 15-Nov-14 17:27:10

A few years ago I tried to persuade several big supermarkets to have a section on their online shops for UK produce of all kinds, so that those wishing to shop without unnecessary air miles could simply go straight to that section and get what they wanted without having to search each item for its country of origin. So far, no success, although Tescos said they were trying to develop this and to watch this space - I am still watching.

pompa Sat 15-Nov-14 18:03:48

Most of our food comes via our local Tesco, however our Tesco is quite good at supplying produce from local suppliers.

bikergran Sat 15-Nov-14 18:32:01

Just lately DD and myself have done our best to make meals from fresh produce (curries from scratch, stews, etc) needs a bit of forward planning and yes you can freeze batches, but as she has just come home with new baby I have fended for myself today and seeing as though I was painting the kitchen and wanted something quick, I ended up with a Tesco "ping meal" tika masala "yuk" it looks good and smelt good but!! alas I would rather have had the bowl of rise crispies that I fancied earlier (yes I know a strange thing to have for tea) but who

upsydaisy Sun 16-Nov-14 23:15:41

The Facebook link to this asks when choosing pork for your Sunday roast do you spare a thought for family farms. Well 1. There are no pig farms round this area. 2. We have an Iceland pizza for tea on a Sunday because first, I love them, second we need something quick on a Sunday and third we can't afford a battery farmed roast chicken let alone a kindly reared pigs shoulder! yes its lovely if you can buy organically farmed or small family farm produce but you've either got to live in an area of the country where such farming takes place or you have to take a butcher on trust that the meat he is charging above average prices for is actually due to less intensive farming. We have just one farm close by and the owner has been done on at least 2 occasions for animal cruelty!

We have never been great meat eaters, mainly down to cost but on saying that hubby has just had his health MOT and at 65 has normal cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure, isn't pre diabetic, isn't overweight and is basically as fit as a flea so maybe meat, organically produced or otherwise isn't all its cracked up to be anyway.