NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it  (Read 9194 times)

pigsatlesrues

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« on: January 11, 2008, 10:07:31 am »
I just wondered if anyone has been watching this programme on Channel BBC 3?

I made myself watch it in order to make sure I was fully informed of the abattoir process. For us it has meant a few very late nights since we are obviously an hour ahead here in France but I am so glad I have seen it. Best practice is possibly different in UK to France and I intend to investigate the processes here and arrange an appointment to visit the abattoir that we will be using and find out as much as I can before sending our pigs.

The main purpose of the programme has been to make people think about the age of the animal they are eating and just how young is acceptable to send to slaughter in order to cater for the niche market for which it is aimed.

I have to say that on a personal level it has re affirmed my personal view that the animal should be given a longer life to enjoy before the final stage of its life.

I have been asked a few times if I would provide a suckling pig that would fit into the oven and each time I have declined, I just couldn't do it. It is so wonderful to see them playing within their family group, and then breaking off to make friends with other young piglets from other litters. It is such normal behaviour for 'children' and is so important to them in their development. It seems such a shame to deprive them of that experience.

The youngest we have slaughtered for ourselves has been around 5 months for spit roast, and that sat ok with me even though the final process is always hard for me. In the end eating is the reason they are reared in the first place and we enjoy it so much on the basis of the good and happy life that our pig has had.

The lambs that were slaughtered on last nights programme disturbed me greatly at just 26 days. Their 'cuteness' aside, I had a real issue about the ewe left behind full of milk and distressed at the loss of her lamb.

I wonder what the sheep keepers on the forum think of this, indeed animal keepers in general.

The first night was piglets, second goat kids, and the same issue applies re the mother as the sheep, third night veal calves and last night lambs, all very very young. This evening they are going over the whole weeks events so anyone interested could catch it then.

The topic of veal calves interested me greatly on the basis that I had no idea that so many thousands of male calves are culled in UK. They are surplus to requirements and not cost effective to rear because they are not worth any real money, cannot be milked and are too expensive for the farmer to keep. They are shot and disposed of at just a couple of days old, some incinerated and some supplied to zoos for animal food - others are exported to the continent for veal with very little profit to the farmer, and not a very good quailty of life either in comparison the to calves on the programme.

The farmer on the programme rearing the veal calves in a very surprising way to me, has found a market for his veal and I think it a shame that people are not informed about the rearing of this particular meat nowadays in order to create a demand and stop the terrible waste of these dear little lives.

No more in Europe are the crates used, they were banned in 2007, although some countries in Europe still appear to still be using wooden slatted floors on which the calves can fall , and that sits badly with me. It was refreshing to see the way the calves were raised on the programme and a credit to the farmer. They were raised on straw bedding with plenty of room, living with other calves both male and female quite naturally.  They were obviously fed milk, but also grain and other fodder, which did change the colour of the meat slightly making it a little darker, but does that really matter?  As the calves grew the females were moved on in readiness to become milkers, and the males ultimately slaughtered for veal. The main thing was that they were happy, contented and there was no stress in their lives.

The whole process of these particular calves sat very well with me and has now changed my view on eating veal. We do eat it here, calves raised by our French neighbours, not shop bought. I can see the calves daily and know how they are raised, surprising well with our neighbours which is possibly not the norm with other French farmers. They slaughter at 4 months old and really love their dairy cows and keep the females to add to their herd and normally sell on the male calves, but keep the odd one back now and again to raise for their family.

If veal could be promoted in UK on the basis of what I saw on the programme in the way that farmer raises his calves it has to be a good thing for the UK farmers I think.

A possible controversial topic for the forum, but what do others think?

The last programme is on tonight, with a look at what has gone before and an open discussion I believe - 

Channel BBC 3.

Kate
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 11:00:18 am by pigsatlesrues »
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !
Voss Electric Fence

Fluffywelshsheep

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 12:24:12 pm »
Same i missed that but i'll take a look to see if it is available to get on the bbc site

Fluffywelshsheep

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 12:27:52 pm »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/programmes/kill_it/
just found this on the website for bbc3 about the prog

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 12:00:48 pm »
I did not see the programme and have long refused to eat veal as most is imported from countries whose level of animal welfare is way below the most basic of British farmers.  I think if red veal were available here I would go for that. 

Most of the problems with this is the general public are happy to buy sanitised, packaged meat that does not bear any resemblance to what it was originally.  None of them want to know the details of why its cheaper than the other.  Indeed a lot of people wont buy our products because they could not eat an animal they had seen running around in a field.  Apparently one thats been kept in obscene conditions in an elevage is fine because they did not see it alive. 

Education re what is eaten and how it is produced should start in primary school where children can learn to develop taste. 

Sorry thats my soap box topic for the week. 

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2008, 02:57:06 pm »
Have a look at www.sunnysidefarm.biz We bought rose veal from them at the Highland Show and it was absolutely lovely. There was a big feature in "The Scottish Farmer"  about them a few weeks ago. It's a couple an their son, started in 2004 with no farming background at all and they now do all tyes of meat, in cluding veal, traditional breeds and traditional rearing. I had always avoided veal for the same reasons.

We also watched the Hugh FW programmes this week. We've recorded "Jamie's Fowl Dinners" but haven't watched it yet. On "Farming this week" on R4 yesterday, the NFU was on justifying the welfare standards in battery and broiler operations - how do you justify the unjustifiable? Consumers would be better not eating chicken that eating chicken produced like that - the producers and the supermarkets would VERY soon adapt. I often feel sorry for farmers because they are much maligned and the bureaucracy and regulation must drive them nuts, but poultry farmers MUST have seen this coming.

If people are starting to care about what goes on their fruit and veg, they must start to care about their meat as well.

I could go on (and on) but I won't.

pigsatlesrues

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2008, 05:18:27 pm »
I think this forum is already making a difference. Animal welfare is a subject being thought about, talked about and now written about.

I watched all the programmes this week on animals and eggs/chickens, and it is good to see some of the supermarkets now at least trying to make an effort to change their ways re chicken farming in UK. Just one person making a change of selection is a step in the right direction.

I have two daughters who have both been to stay at our smallholding and both have families to feed. One would rather buy less and and buy free range/organic, the other still thinks that the 2 for a fiver is acceptable even after having eaten our produce here at our home and serving our birds at her table. It really is a mind set thing. The one that buys free range can least afford it, but she has tapped into our mindset of the importance of rasing our animals in a happy and healthy and stimulated environment, and the respect given to our animals during thier life and death. The other who could afford it prefers to buy another jacket and a pair of jeans. I am going to have my work cut out with her I know, but since she is such a fan of Jamie Oliver, perhaps his broadcast this week might just make her think twice the next time she goes to Tesco's.

The subject of veal is one that should be spread to as many people as possible. The British dairy farmer deserves the chance to rear his male calves, and the calves deserve the chance of a life.

Kate
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 05:20:12 pm by pigsatlesrues »
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2008, 06:48:52 pm »
It's a real shame that dairy bull calves are "waste". I used to work on a dairy farm many years ago and we used to fatten them for the beef market BUT these were Friesians. At that time, the farmer was upgrading to Holsteins, a much more extreme dairy breed with higher milk yileds but the down side was that the male calves weren't economic to raise for beef because the end carcase was so poor.

I'd rather eat less meat of a better quality in terms of welfare - the price argument is a weak one. We already eat far too much protein in the West anyway, I'm sure.

But some folk just don't want to know - those who do care just have to keep plugging away. I think Hugh said that, at the end, for a chicken the death was much the same but it was the life beforehand that was important.

Fluffywelshsheep

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Kill it, Cook it, Eat it
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2008, 03:01:15 pm »
btw they are showing it again but 9.00 tonight on bbc 3

 

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