Here’s a guest blog post from Louise at Croft farm to explain why you should.
Free-range pigs live their whole lives outdoors with access to warm, dry houses and the ability to indulge all of their natural behaviours, such as rooting and playing. Pigs are incredibly curious and friendly animals, and free range pigs are always full of fun and are a pleasure to care for. Pigs are exceptionally good mums, and we get huge pleasure from watching our huge free-range animals gently snuffling their new-born piglets and supervising them as they learn about the world around them through playing and exploring.
As a result of their outdoor life, free-range pigs grow more slowly than their intensively farmed cousins and so are brought into the food chain at a later stage. This produces firm, lean and juicy meat which is of a high nutritional standard.
In stark contrast, intensively farmed pigs spend their entire lives indoors, crowded into concrete pens and dosed with all sorts of medication to ward off the inevitable diseases which come from being highly stressed and in such close proximity to so many other animals. Despite being banned in the UK, many European and other pig farms, which provide well over half of the cheap pork products sold in our supermarkets, still use intensive systems which are little short of barbaric. Sows give birth in crates, contraptions which are supposed to prevent the risk of the mum accidentally squashing one of her babies when she lays down to feed them but which actually prevent her from having any sort of interaction with them at all, save for being a captive feeding station.
Once weaned, the piglets are moved into large sheds with many others where they will live out their days in crowded conditions, never seeing the light of day or feeling grass, or their much loved mud, under their trotters. To prevent these bored, distressed animals from hurting each other in the inevitable fights which occur in such an environment, piglets routinely have their teeth clipped and their lovely curly tails docked, to prevent other animals biting them.
Sadly this meat is not only produced from very unhappy animals, but is also often very poor quality. And when you eat it, you are unwittingly ingesting all the antibiotics and other drugs which were part of the pigs’ daily ration to enable them to survive their horrific conditions. The true price of any meat must include the cost of keeping the animal in a humane and healthy way. Buying cheap meat of any kind is a false economy if you care about your own health, never mind that of the animal.
The only guarantee of high standards of welfare, as well as excellent quality meat is to ask for free range. At Croft Barn in Lorton we believe the best meat comes from happy animals raised as naturally as possible, which is why all our rare breed pigs are free range – and why our pork is so very tasty!
Rare Breed, Free-Range, Local Pork.
Croft Barn, Off the B5289, Low Lorton, Cumbria.
If you care about where your meat comes from, come along to Croft Barn in Lorton, meet the pigs, and buy some pork