If pigs could fly …

17. Oktober 2016 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

(and this is meant literally:) they would surely decide against being crammed into trucks and trailers with so little space that they have to hold their heads high – only to be driven to their slaughter. But if they could take to the air, they might choose a different route and fly out over the ocean or to the peaks of the nearby Pyrenees (Pigrenees) there to die a soothing death on a snowfield.

The pig sty of Our Lady of Bliss

Yes, this is pork country, and finally I get an idea where the nicely cured Jamon serrano originally comes from that covers the plate of every good Spaniard’s primero (before he goes on to devour more meat, preferably beef). Even on Sunday I witnessed dozens of trucks full of live flesh criss-crossing the Aragon and Lleida country lanes.
In my mind, the swaths of vines (yielding the reputed Somontano denomination) take second place when I wonder about the agrobusiness and the pressure to produce ever more cheaply. There are things that are hard to understand: why would a glass of Crianza (the better quality local wine) cost less than €2 while a plate of Jamon can be between €8 and 18 in the same restaurant?

If I consider all the agricultural regions that I have cycled through in Europe, the ones that specialise in one crop tend to be the least attractive visually, but then that’s a very subjective view. I once wrote about the mountain farmers working away at the hay harvest in the heat on steep Alpine slopes. Surely, that’s less attractive work than ferrying about a truckload of future pork? Plus it’s probably heavily subsidised by the tax payer. And it’s more like the past – with all due regret – than the future.

To cap my thoughts I take a symbolic picture of modern-day Europe: a high-speed train whizzing past a pigsty – or should I say, ham factory?

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