The freezer is stocked with joints of the finest pork I have ever been lucky enough to carve for Sunday lunch, all of it thanks to my nephew who has made an outstanding success of his venture into pig-rearing on his smallholding.
But elsewhere, warnings about the future of the pig industry have risen to the equivalent of a Force 9 gale. A few weeks back we were told to expect a price hike for pork to cover increased feed costs, whereas now there is talk of a global shortage.
Yet this all comes at a time when consumers, reportedly, are demanding more and more free-range pork. Saintly Waitrose reports a 45 per cent year-on-year increase in free-range pork buying while, not to be outdone, Tesco claims sales of its Finest pork are 20 per cent up on last year.
This is the same Tesco which refused Jimmy Doherty permission to film inside one of its pork suppliers' sheds on the grounds that there was a disease problem and instead fobbed him off with three or four animals artfully arranged in a makeshift enclosure of straw bales with the assurance that this is what the inside of the building looked like.
Check the labelling and Tesco Finest pork is all outdoor bred or outdoor reared. And there is, of course, a huge difference here. A pig may be born in a field, but if it is then raised in a shed is it free-range?
Here is clearly yet another issue of honest labelling to be tackled. Away with your confusing Red Tractors and Freedom Foods labels: the description of free-range pork should be restricted to meat from animals which have been bred and raised outdoors.
It's simple enough. It prevents the use of weaselly descriptions which convey rather less than the truth.
It would also reassure consumers seeking to shop ethically that there is a valid reason for the premium they are being asked to pay.
And it could be the first step to ensuring the switch to free-range pork mirrors that of our steady conversion to buying free-range eggs.
Although now on hold, this week's award for outstanding commonsense must go to Sainsburys, which has denounced the RSPCA's threat to withdraw Freedom Food accreditation from farmers whose land is used for badger culling.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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