In a time of all-horse hamburgers and E. coli outbreaks, food provenance has become a huge issue. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the lack of traceability within the food industry. Often, shoppers have to rely on packaging to tell the truth – which it often doesn’t. What if the origin of a food could be proven at the most basic level?
While some may struggle with harsh reality that an animal must die for us to eat meat, Yorkshire Meats has seen this as an opportunity to provide people in the UK with full traceability and accountability. Through their Adopt-a-Pig scheme consumers can track their pig’s life from start to finish, developing a relationship with the animal whilst also being aware of exactly how and where the pork they eat has been raised.
To quote the Yorkshire Meats website, you “will be sent photo packs, receive email updates, see it on the internet, and even visit the pigs in their natural surroundings. You can even have postcards and fridge magnets of your very own pig made. At the end, you can choose what you want back from your pig”. A literal translation of that euphemistic last line would be “what parts of the pig do you want to buy and eat?”
Here, the consumer is effectively purchasing an animal’s life, and is encouraged to develop a strong relationship with it before its death. So where does pet end and the food source start? True accountability in the food chain is evidently hard to achieve without acute knowledge of an animal’s life and death, but maybe reading a letter from your pig while tucking into his leg is a little too “accountable”.