This week I'm wwoofing on a small farm in Gloucestershire (more to come in another blog). The farm rears rare breed pigs, as well as having ducks, geese and chickens, and a CSA based veg plot. The pigs are reared for their meat and for me (especially after all my thoughts on meat eating this year), this is proving really interesting (especially given that my responsibilities this week involve looking after these animals).
It's been a bit of a baptism of fire. The first thing I did on Monday morning was help take two pigs to the abattoir (I was given the option of not going by my hosts, but decided I wanted to go) - it was a small local abattoir and actually a lot less distressing than I expected. On Friday we pick the meat up from the butchers and prepare it for collection by customers on Saturday.
On top of that, tomorrow I also get to learn how to kill a chicken (one of the cockerels they raised after hatching some eggs), then pluck, hang and gut it. Again, this isn't a mandatory part of the wwoofing experience, but something I've chosen to participate in.
I've thought for a long while that if you want to eat meat, you should be prepared to at least be fully aware of what that means. And so this week is a real test for me. I'll report back :)