This morning I was woken by the sound of death, so I’m guessing it’s Matanza in Spain day. Matanza is the day that the locals traditionally slaughter their pigs in preparation for winter. I’m not exactly sure what the date is each year, or even if there is a specific date to be adhered to, but living in the campo as we do, we are alerted annually by the sounds from our neighbour’s terrace.
The first year we lived here Elle was quite distraught by the screams of the pig. Death is never going to sound pleasant, but after three years we’ve kind of got used to it. I’m a meat eater, and neither want to, nor could, be a vegetarian. It’s my personal view that vegetarianism is unnatural – just look at the array of teeth we have! We evolved as omnivores. Who am I to argue with evolution?
Legally it has to be carried out humanely by a licensed slaughterer, so presumably it didn’t suffer any more than it would if meeting its end in a factory. As consumers we don’t usually encounter the reality of the situation.
However horrible it might sound when you initially think about it, certainly from what we’ve seen it could be argued that our neighbour’s pig is treated far more humanely than those that end up vacuum packed in Mercadona. His pigs live like kings all year; they are well fed; they have their own space rather than being confined in factory farm environments and they meet their end in moments rather than having to endure hours being crammed fearfully in the back of a truck and being forced to queue to die, likely knowing what lies ahead.
It’s a big family event here with the men butchering and the women preparing various chorizo and other products following the slaughter of the pig. Not a piece of the animal is wasted. I’m not a fan of morcilla (blood sausage) but, after the gift of some last year, Elle assures me our neighbour’s is the best she’s tasted.
I think I’d rather have food prepared this way than from the likes of the gigantic El Pozo factory you can’t miss when driving on the A-7 in Murcia.
The place is huge and somehow conjures up Pink Floyd type images of lorry loads of pigs being tipped in at one end and pre-packed supermarket pork product coming of the other.
Which method sounds healthier for both man and beast to you?