I took responsibility yesterday.
I’ve been thinking of that step a while. It’s not easy these days to be sure, that the things we do really are the right things.
I belong to those many people who very much enjoy eating meat. Yes, I’m human, I’m omnivore and I eat Schnitzel, Currywurst and Kebab.
But through the last years I found it hard to find the place where I can buy my meat without supporting the worst, agriculture does on this planet.
Industrially produced meat means cruelty to any animal with the misfortune to be born into it. I refuse to support that. I’ve been refusing it for a while now.
I found a butcher, who exclusively offers meat, that is produced local and sustainable under very strict control. We call that “Bio” in Germany. Yet not everything labelled “Bio” is exactly what we imagine it to be.
Knowing not only about the suffering, but also about the extremely bad consequences for the environment caused by keeping much too many animals, I asked my butcher about the way the animals he sells, are kept. He could tell. About local farms, about the food for the animals produced locally and sustainable. He could also tell me how and where the animals are killed. Local as well.
That’s what is “Bio” for me. Local and sustainable.
But the whole thing still has some weaknesses. Pigs are mostly kept inside. It’s not easy to keep them outside, what is much more their natural way of living. It’s expensive and also riskier, than to keep them in a stable. Pigs get ill easily, pigs are very sensitive about stress. But it’s possible to keep them outside nowadays as it was formerly. They have to live in small groups then, a bit like wild pigs. And as they have the same energy and destroying power to our modern farms as wild pigs have, the farmer has to take some more effort, to keep things under control. He needs fences for example, that pigs can not dig themselves through. We build such fences usually to keep wild pigs out of estates. It’s expensive. The pig, that’s kept a happy pig is much more expensive, than the industrial one.
My butcher had an idea. It’s the idea of ‘solidarity in agriculture’.
He pays a farmer, who already is an expert for keeping animals sustainably, for each pig, that is kept open air on lawn. He pays the pig in advance. And then he sells the pig in his shop.
That’s taking the risks together. To sell that expensive pig, there needs to be a market for it. It needs customers, who are willing to pay twice as much or more for their meat, to get ‘responsibily’ produced Schnitzel and Sausages.
I love this concept.
The butcher offers his customers to become part of his initiative. Because according to the concept, the initiative becomes more powerful by more people being part of it. I agreed to pay a fixed amount of money each month to get more pigs out onto a meadow, to have them live a pig’s life and not a tortured creature’s life.
The meat of the first pigs is on sale now. It’s divine. I can’t afford much of it. Once or twice a week has to do. And I found out, that this is really enough. I eat much less meat, than several years ago. But I’m really looking forward to my Schnitzel now, eating a lot of healthy (also mainly produced local and sustainable) vegetables during the week. I’ve become kind of a “during the week vegetarian” with “omnivore” weekends.
On a higher level I see more and more of such ‘solidaric farming’ initiatives, in wich people share the risks and the gain of local agriculture. There are farms who sell parts of their harvest in advance. That gives the the capital to the farmer to build up the business. And it gives us the knowledge about where and how our vegetables and fruits are produced. But it also means taking a risk. If something goes wrong and the harvest is smaller than expected, it’s not the farmer loosing alone, the shareholders also get less for their money.
I’m kind of a pig owner from today on. After all I know, my pig is a pretty happy pig.
Yes, “The times they are a-changing”!
In this case though, different from what Bob Dylan thought of writing this line, the times are a bit changing backwards. We move back to a standard that still was usual and common before WW2 happened.
More and more people agree, that the road mankind took in the industrialised part of the world wasn’t the best in many aspects.
I see young people refusing to be spoiled onto that way. They are our sons and daughters. We have to support them or we should get out of their way…just as Bob Dylan suggests:
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing