Sus Rinus: November

The pig slaughter process is not a visible part of our daily relation to food anymore. In fact hardly anything of the growing, rearing, processing and slaughtering is visible to us. We can therefore assume to be more civilised than our ancestors while eating meat because it is so easy to close our eyes for the killing and chopping done by others. How horrified would we be if we had to chop the head of the chicken that we intend to cook tonight. How awful and sad it would be to slaughter Rinus after you got to know him intimately.

Increasingly, I come to think the other way around; how awful that I eat an anonymous pig who had an anonymous life together with a few million others and who’s parts are being used in at least 187 products without us knowing. How horrible that this piece of meat sealed in a plastic box with a number of ‘stars’ (see Keuringsdienst van Waarde) does not really link my thoughts to a concrete animal. How outrageous that I shovel my food in without thoughts about that little piglet grubbing around, to the wiggling of a fully grown pig tail while he is playing pig, to the socializing that they do, to the little naps they take, to the way they run to be fed.

Anna, Bom, Rinus and Alie were not only literally digging up the border but they also symbolise the border between a pig and our food (see the wonderful report with lots of pictures of assistant farmer Onno van Eijk). A culture that values their food, is a culture that knows their food. Once you know, fed and cared for Rinus, his meat becomes precious, the slaughtering an intense and difficult ritual and nothing of him will be spoilt or mindlessly consumed (see also the Volkskrant article).

The care and attention which naturally appear when you are involved in all aspects of the food leads to a quality which is recognised elsewhere in the world as a strong food culture. The majority of us, however, are made to value brands instead of food.

2 thoughts on “Sus Rinus: November

  1. Hi Petra!

    I will be finishing my PhD in May ’11 and I am considering the idea of travel around Europe during the summer, and I would like to see a little of the work that you have been doing, this of course if you can.
    Nothing is set in stone yet, but I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to start planning what I could do while in Europe.


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