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Pig cruelty

Some farm employees kicked pigs and stabbed them with pitchforks. An organisation called Animal Equity who do undercover investigations with the aim of reducing cruelty to farm animals used hidden cameras to capture the evidence. They gave it to the press, who confronted the farm, who fired the employees.

Helen Browning, who owns an organic pig farm in Wiltshire, insists that consumers need to know more about where their meat is coming from so that customers can make informed choices in supermarkets.

She said: “You can see if something is organic. Ours are organic pigs and you can sometimes see free range or outdoor bred, but actually nothing tells you about perhaps the less attractive side, so nothing will tell you if pigs have been in farrowing crates or kept indoors.

“Most of us buy free range eggs now because it’s clearly labelled whether they have been barn reared, they’ve been in cages or they’ve been free range. We need the same for pigs.”

Co-op is the largest supermarket chain to promise to stop using pork from pigs that have been kept inside their whole life in its own-brand products.

That will come into effect from July and is something that only Waitrose is currently committed to.

The British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, said:

What are you talking to me for? This has nothing to do with the state. Everything is working as it should. People who care about the welfare of animals took it upon themselves to investigate and convince other people that this is a bad thing. The farm has received negative publicity and will suffer in the marketplace unless it mends its ways, which it has started to do by firing the employees involved. And food retailers have identified a demand for meat from animals that have been treated more kindly and are working towards meeting it. The market works.

Now go away. My department only has two part-time employees and we have some disputes over field boundaries to advise people about so we are very busy.

Oops, sorry, wrong universe. He actually said that he has pledged to restore the UK as a leader in animal welfare.

14 comments to Pig cruelty

  • Several years back the British public were consulted on the question of pig husbandry. Most responded they would be happy to pay more for meat from pigs kept in better conditions, so new laws were passed resulting in more expensive products. Which the public did not buy, preferring cheaper products from abroad.

  • I’m afraid the old Michael Gove has died. The new one isn’t anywhere near as good.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – if only a real government minister would say what you have your fictional government minister say.

    Of course once one has government departments covering most areas of life (the dream of Jeremy Bentham) and “law” si defined as “the will of the state” (the position of Thomas Hobbes) rather the rules of natural justice applied to individual cases of aggression – then the All Mighty State is inevitable.

    The logical end point of the thinking of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, the Mills…. is AT BEST someone like Prime Minister Theresa May – and it is likely to be far worse than Prime Minister May.

  • Derek Buxton

    “Likely to be far worse than Mrs. May”? Impossible I would have thought, not a conservative principle in her head and not too intelligent.

  • Jim

    What Tim Newman said. The UK public are utter hypocrites – demanding that UK based producers adhere to standards that raise the cost of production, yet then going out and buying foreign imports, because they’re cheaper, yet are produced in a manner they deem not acceptable to occur in the UK.

  • Fred Z

    Tim Newman, I have been commenting for years that consulting and polls are without value.

    Those consulted do not accurately tell the pollster what they really want. They lie to themselves then the pollster in the belief they are speaking truth, lie intentionally or make an error or mistake.

    That’s the gigantic reason why the market and money are the only accurate polls. Nobody even knows the truth about their hierarchy of wants until money is involved. If a person is not actually trading a scarce resource, and all resources are scarce, they don’t think real hard.

    Everybody wants pigs to be treated well but very few will pay more than a penny or two for them.

  • Helen C

    I believe that we should always support small businesses instead of huge conglomerates like Walmart. I would tell a pollster that. I once went more than a year without going in a Walmart. I had a nice job and lived in a big city with options.

    Now I shop in one twice a week. I live on my measly retirement check and have to count every penny and live in a town with very limited choices in retail options. If the other store sold the items I needed at a similar price I would shop there, but it doesn’t.

    If the prices were similar, I might buy coddled pork. The prices will never be similar, however. Most people, regardless of their ideals and regardless of what the pollsters are told, don’t have a choice.

  • Douglas2/Unknown

    I lived for a bit I lived in a place in the US where the nearest supermarket was of a chain called “Food Lion”. A new friend warned me that I should not purchase meat there, and when I queried why, I was told of a controversy where they were re-dating expired meat.

    Of course I had to look this up, and what I found in the federal court decisions was that the ABC news investigation had placed undercover reporters as Food Lion employees, these reporters had instigated and encouraged behaviour that was against the law and against company policy, those moments where their instigation was successful were the few bits of the many hours of filming from the cameras in their wigs that were publicised by on ABC’s “news” program “Primetime Live”.

    A jury awarded $5.5 million dollars to Food Lion in their case against ABC news for Fraud, trespassing, and breach of duty of loyalty. The presiding judge reduced this to a few hudred thousand dollars, and the 4th circuit court of appeals threw out the fraud part on appeal as they considered it a stealth defamation charge that did not meet 1st amendment standards which would require proof of falsity and of actual malice. So Food Lion ended up with $2 as the remaining award for the remaining tresspass/duty parts.

    Since then, whenever I see hidden camera stuff alleging that a company requires/encourages/allows employees to do bad stuff, my first inclination is to think that whoever is releasing the video is actually the party instigating the bad stuff, until proven otherwise.

  • Rob Fisher

    “The UK public are utter hypocrites”

    That might be in part because the UK public are more than one person.

    What I am trying to show is that markets respond to persuasion and the violence of the state is unnecessary.

    “Everybody wants pigs to be treated well but very few will pay more than a penny or two for them.”

    Economic growth will help there. There really is nothing libertarianism can’t do!

  • bobby b

    “Most of us buy free range eggs now because it’s clearly labelled whether they have been barn reared, they’ve been in cages or they’ve been free range. We need the same for pigs.”

    “Co-op is the largest supermarket chain to promise to stop using pork from pigs that have been kept inside their whole life in its own-brand products.”

    From what this person says, labeling works – “most of us” buy free-range eggs because they can, because the labeling allows them to find free range eggs.

    So why do we need the supermarket to make our choice for us by ending their purchase of evil pork? Why not just provide labels?

    The real reason is that “most of us” do NOT buy free range eggs. She and some of her well-off friends do, because it’s cool and trendy, but “most of us” buy based on price, and free-range eggs are quite a bit more expensive.

    So, just like Leonardo DeCaprio lectures us all on global warming and living a simpler life while having special pizza flown from New York City to his place in California, this woman wants the rest of us to sacrifice to finance her concern for the happiness of pigs.

    My impulse upon reading this is to go outside and kick a cow in her name.

  • JohnK

    I was once contacted by a telephone poll (I think it was Gallup) before the 2010 election. I think I must have been on a weird database back then, because I was also invited to the first televised election debate. How can I relate the excitement of sitting just a few feet from Gordon Brown as he gurned in the wings waiting to come on stage?

    Anyway, I went along with the poll, because you often hear people say they don’t believe polls as no-one they know has ever been polled. It seemed churlish to turn down the invitation.

    I must say it was disappointing. Obviously, you can only answer the questions asked, usually on a scale of one to five. The formulation of the questions dictates the direction of the answers. So you might get a question along the lines of “How much do you agree with the idea of raising taxes to fund the NHS?”, with one being “very much” and five being “not at all”. You tend to answer between two and four, but the point is there is no dialogue in a poll. You cannot say that you disagree with the socialist health service devised by leftists in 1948, or that by the 21st century there should be better ways of providing a health care system.

    None of this is possible in a poll. I suppose polls are useful for very simple questions, such as “Do you think Theresa May is a colossal failure as Prime Minister, and should make way for someone who actually believes in Brexit?” (answer yes or no), but for anything more nuanced they are a waste of time.

  • Runcie Balspune

    He actually said that he has pledged to restore the UK as a leader in animal welfare.

    Yep.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Not a problem. Once sharia law is accepted as the law of the land, the UK won’t have pigs at all.

  • EdMJ

    Once sharia law is accepted as the law of the land, the UK won’t have pigs at all.

    True, but the sheep and cows won’t have it so easy

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