I suspect that this post should perhaps be accompanied by a BBC-type warning, ‘This article contains images which some viewers may find distressing‘! I have avoided the blood and guts – and the actual killing is not carried out at the farm anyway – but these are pictures from a busy butcher’s shop. Not to everyone’s taste!
From my personal perspective I was keen to see how the general public reacted to the shop, positioned as it is in the heart of the farm yard, and where its open plan allows the butchery operations to be on full view. I wasn’t sure how I would react myself, but the shop is an integral part of Gazegill Farm so I really needed to find out.
To my surprise, I witnessed several visitors coming into the shop who had never been before and whose first enquiry was to seek confirmation that this was the farm which only sold meat produced on the farm. Walking past the pigs just yards from the shop, rather than being stressful was in fact a positive confirmation of the provenance of the meat. Several visitors having made their purchase made a short tour of the immediate farm and its occupants.
Paul and his team working in the shop carry out their work with calm dignity and respect for the meat they are working on. It is hard work physically, particularly on the day I was there which was when they were making up Internet orders as well as serving the shop. I didn’t realise just how hard till I spent this day with them. Obvious in hind sight, but in manoeuvring and dissecting half a cow, you are dealing with a big object.
I think in the course of my travels last year that I have come to terms with being a non-vegetarian, BUT one who must know the provenance of the meat and for this provenance to be a good one if I am to partake of it. Any doubts on its provenance and I become a single minded vegetarian. Its difficult to explain how – perhaps because it is as much, if not more, emotion than intellect – but the day in the farm shop helped me along this road whilst also leaving me not totally comfortable with the sight of dead meat in bulk. Which ever way you look at it, the meat is a dead animal. I’m still not sure why when in bulk it feels uncomfortable.
Please do feel free to respond and articulate your own views around meat eating. I met many and varied opinions in my travels, and have the greatest respect for those who have carefully formulated their position, no matter which way it goes, and in particular those like the team at Gazegill who are working with a conscious caring and respect for animals destined to be food for humans.
For more on Gazegill Farm see the farm website.