Victorian vs Smithfield Farms

Yesterday evening I watched the last segments of the British documentary, Victorian Farm. Alex did some beekeeping and collected the honey. Peter made ginger beer and Ruth got into straw plaiting.  When they advertised for harvest help, I learned that there was junk mail in Victorian England after the printing system made it possible to print flyers.

The hay crop was ruined and they barely got their wheat harvested in time. Ruth made cheese and got the necessary rennet for it from a calf’s stomach.  This way of life was going on in rural England around the time my grandmothers were born here in America.  Maybe I should write historical fiction about this time period—I’m so fascinated with it.

The baby farm animals were so cute. One of the archeologist’s, Peter, said he would miss the pigs the most. Princess, the mama, had given birth to nine piglets and eight of them made it. They were funny, especially when they were eating and had their heads in a bucket.

When I got online this morning, the first thing I saw was a video about an investigation that the humane society had secretly done at Smithfield Farms, the largest pork producer in the world. The pregnant sows were placed in gestation cages where they could barely move. They had sores from chewing on the metal bars and slowly went insane. It was horrible and sad to see the video footage.

I’m not a vegetarian. I eat meat for health reasons, almost all free-range, organic meat and pork is one of my least favorite meats. I certainly won’t be eating any for a long time now.

Sure we have lots of improvements over how things were done over one hundred years ago. There are more people to feed. Factory farms have gone to far though. Many of our systems need to change, of course, but food is so very basic.  Paula Deen is the face and spokesperson of this Virginia company.

The contrast between how Princess was raised and the sows in the cramped wire cages is shocking.

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2 Comments

  1. Billy said,

    January 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Bees are known for enhancing crop production as well as producing one of nature�s finest food products: honey.

    • silvercannon said,

      January 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Yes, bees are very important.
      Your comment went first to my spam folder and after taking a quick glance at the first page of your site, I’m approving it.
      It’s amazing that people can share their expertise and connect with people with the interwebs.


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