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  1. The pig on the wall

    During a meal on the square in a tiny French village, my eyes fell on a happy pig over a butcher’s shop. It is quite common to use pig drawings here in the South of France. A local butcher chain uses a laughing pig on two legs with a top hat as their company logo. Another butcher shows piglets with funny ears explaining that the «sausicces» of the season are here.

    When I saw the drawing of the pig on the wall, I got an instinctive feeling that this is incorrect, – or inappropriate. Perhaps it’s from religious preachers who tell us that pigs are unclean animals, not to be eaten? Perhaps it’s from all the nutritious experts who believe that pork and sausages are inferior food? Anyway, a drawing of a pig on the wall definetely gives me a feeling of being somewhere else than my home country, Norway.

    Has the pig become a taboo icon?

    I remember the textbook we had at school in home economics. It had sweet drawings of a smiling pig, followed by texts such as «If you eat butter, you will add on weight». Today, drawings of pigs would definetely be banned from schools.

    Old Christmas cards and Christmas magazines had paintings of smiling pigs, often on the same side as religious messages. And, if I remember correctly, butcher shops in my childhood had drawings of pigs on the wall, like the one I see here in the South of France. Today, there aren’t very many butcher shops left in Norway. They are replaced by a counter at the local shopping mall. But, if there still had been butcher shops in Norway, I dare say that no one today would have a picture of a pig on the wall. However, there are some exceptions. In Oslo there is a gourmet pub «The Happy Pig» and in the city of Tvedestrand there is a shopping center named «The Pig Shopping Center”.

    Is pork inferior food?

    Some claim that the pig is generically too close to be suitable for human consumption. There are a lot of serious articles that explain why one should abstain from pork meat, but most of the dangers are either shared with other farmed animals, or other types of red meat. Pork is classified as “red meat” – and research has proven that red meat is a source for developing cancer, though we have to consider that persons who abstain from eating red meat, also have a healthier lifestyle than people in general.

    I remember a newspaper article some years ago about a pig farmer with a bizarre story. The farmer had repeatedly spotted mold in the pig’s food. He believed this could be harmful and had repeatedly complained to the producer, without being heard. In desperation, he went to the media because he and his wife had been diagnosed with cancer. His wife was already dead, and he had only months left to live. He believed the reason they got cancer, was the pig’s feed. And as most pig farmers, they had pork on the table more often than other households. The allegations were, of course, rejected by lawyers of the swine industry, and brought to silence.

    People can live with transplanted pig hearts and share multiple organs with pigs. One would therefore think that the pigs’ nutritional intake easily could be transmitted to humans when we eat them? Actually, the pig eats anything, like mold, medications, poison, rotten material and feces.

    No one knows what the pig in your hotdog ate the days before it was slaughtered.

    Another worrisome aspect of pork is how pigs are treated by farmers. Pigs are known to be smarter than dogs. They are very social and understand well what’s happening around them. I do believe the Norwegian and the French breeders when they tell that pigs are treated well – even with respect. But food is now transported across the European Union around the clock in shabby trucks, to a market near you. Pork is the cheapest meat you can buy. Especially large households can save lots of money by choosing the cheapest pork meat.

    That meat did not belong to the happiest pig, like the one on the wall in South of France.

    It is not just the pig on the wall that feels wrong. Perhaps it is correct, what is written in Leviticus 11: 7-8?

    … and the pig, because it has cloven hoofs but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you.
    You are not tho eat their flesh or even touch their dead carcasses.

    But now I get completely carried away! The purpose of this post was to show the image of the entire wall.

    🙂 Beautiful, eh?

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