One Simple Trick to get the Best Tasting Pork

Buy free range. It’s been scientifically proven.

That’s all there is to it. This isn’t one of those articles where you have to read for 10 minutes before they tell you the answer to the headline. I’m here to spread a message, not gather ad revenue. Read on if you’re interested. Go out and buy some free range pork if you’re not.

So not only is free range kinder to the animals, it’s also objectively a better quality product. As if we needed any more reasons to by free range. You really have to wonder why it’s not available in the major supermarkets.

Even if big shops haven’t realised it, there are certainly farmers that recognise the merits of farming free range. Some farmers go as far as to line their transport trucks with mattresses in order to ensure that the pigs have the most comfortable, stress-free ride to the slaughterhouse. Happy until the bitter end.

Now I’ve been throwing out wild as yet unsubstantiated claims about better taste. How to prove that? Surely taste is entirely subjective. After all, there is the horrible practice in some Asian countries of torturing animals to death because they believe it improves the taste. Let’s look at this from a scientific perspective. The reason that free range ham, pork and bacon tastes so much better is due to glycogen that is present in the pig’s muscles. Muscle glycogen enhances the texture, flavour and colour of the meat. Hormones that get released due to fright and stress during a pig’s life cause a breakdown of muscle glycogen, lightening the colour of the meat as well as making it more acidic and less flavoursome.

The light coloured meat is more difficult for farmers to sell and is frequently discarded, meaning these animals suffered for nothing!

 

Glycogen_structure.jpg
This is glycogen. No wonder it tastes so good, just look at all those delicious glucose molecules branching out!

A pig raised on a natural diet, and given enough space for it to exercise will result in a better, more natural tasting meat. This is the sort of meat that people were enjoying for thousands of years before factory farming became the norm.

Judge for yourself. Buy some free range pork if you haven’t already and see what a difference it makes. I bet you won’t want to go back.

 

Check out the following links if you need more proof:

 

– Robin

Image credit: Häggström, Mikael. “Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014“. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2).DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 20018762.

 

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Smart Enough to Suffer

smart_pigPictured: A pig of superior intelligence, but inferior eye-sight

Pigs are social and intelligent animals. They play together, they have long-term memories and they can remember which people were nice to them and which people weren’t. It’s such a pity that many domestic pigs will go their whole lives without meeting any people in the former category. Shouldn’t it be the right of all animals to have a good life? Even if they’re just going to get eaten in the end. Factory farmed pigs suffer in cramped, unnatural conditions, and “bred free range” pigs suffer the same. Only free range pigs experience a life close to what they evolved to enjoy: open pastures, warm sun, and fresh air.

Pigs have been taught how to play video games. They have been taught to navigate mazes and solve puzzles. There are plenty of articles saying how pigs are more intelligent than dogs, or just as smart as chimpanzees. Some even go as far as to say they’re smarter than 3 year olds. We wouldn’t eat any of these would we? Well some people might but I’m sure we’d put them in prison or at least not want to be friends with them. The point is, most of us would agree that we shouldn’t eat smart things, and yet we’re still killing and eating thousands of highly intelligent animals every single day.

This isn’t going to suddenly change, and though it may seem unconventional for a blog of this type, I am of the opinion that we should not just stop eating pigs. It’s unquestionable that they’re delicious. Many people also rely on pig farming for their livelihood. However, I also think that pigs deserve to have good lives. We can change the way that they’re treated without having to forgo our lovely bacon. Just switch to free range. Coles and Woolworths are making this hard by not offering free range choices any more, but local butchers and smaller supermarkets may still have free range bacon or pork available.

Free range pork is more expensive than factory farmed, but not drastically so. Isn’t it worth a few extra dollars so you can have the peace of mind that you didn’t contribute to animal suffering? The meat will even taste better because it won’t be toughened from years of stress. You’ll be able to rest easy with a belly full of bacon, knowing that the pig you ate had a happy life. And you can bask in the warm glow of self-satisfaction, knowing that you’re also contributing to better treatment for pigs in the future.

 

– Robin

 

Image sourced from modernfarmer.com

There’s No Free Range Bacon??

I was shopping online and was horrified to find that both Coles and Woolworths no longer sell free range bacon. You can still get free range pork, albeit from only one supplier, but the fact that there is no ethical choice for bacon, one of the most popular meats, is shocking to say the least.

Now if you’re shopping at the two big supermarkets, your only choices are “sow stall free” or factory farmed bacon. These are basically the same thing. This is not okay. There are dozens of varieties of free range eggs in every store. This is fantastic, but we need choices for pigs as well.

If they’ve stopped selling free range bacon, it must be because enough people weren’t buying it. It costs more, but you have to ask yourself what is a life worth? I bet if you were confronted with the pigs that live in factory farms – if they were standing, suffering right in front of you – you would be willing to pay the extra $2.50 to allow them a life of open pastures and sun.

The fact that we can’t conveniently access free range bacon any more really throws a nail in the works of this campaign. It will take extra effort, but shop around and find a butcher or supermarket that DOES sell free range bacon. It is worth it for the end result. Pigs are intelligent animals that don’t deserve a life of suffering.

Shop around, enact change with your wallet and let the big supermarkets know that we WILL buy free range if we’re given the option. If the day comes when they restock the free range bacon, I want to see the shelves empty by the end of that day.

 

– Robin