I met a charming man at a party who said that an awful lot of people have a go at keeping pigs, but few do it more than once. As the two tirelessly cheerful sows that live at the bottom of my field near the end their short lives, I am about to join the ranks of the ex pig keepers too. I just don't think I can go through with the trauma again.
There was meant to be a logic to pigs. If you have the space and a horror of factory-farmed meat (but a healthy love of bacon) then fattening up a couple for personal consumption is the obvious solution. Their day-to-day needs are relatively small- a dry, straw-filled shelter, a constant source of fresh water, food twice daily, and an electric fence- and unlike sheep they rarely need the attention of the vet. The problem, I have discovered, is that they really like having their tummies tickled, they come when I call, and the thought of eating them is getting more revolting the closer their date with the local abbatoir men becomes.
Keeping animals which are theorectically destined for the cooking pot has made me re-evaluate my whole attitude towards eating meat. What was meant to be an excersize in thoughful freezer filling (and yet another reason to wear my Spry boiler suit) is unravelling into an argument for vegetarianism. I doubt I will stray from the vegetable patch in future.