this little piggy

Today was full of meat and animals. Also, for the first time our group was nearly complete – we are still missing our teaching assistant – but all students are present and we were able to spend an entire day together.

Our first stop of the day was the Granjas RYC farm, which is an industrial pig farm outside of the city of Puebla.  The farm is large – it produces about 40K pigs a year – and today it smelled very much like a pig farm. We saw the area with 18 day old piglets, who were still nursing, and living in gestational crates. The next area had weaned pigs – one group was 50 days old and the other 60 days old. The final area had the oldest group; I not sure how old the pigs are, but they are mighty fat, and are the smelliest.  I was surprised at the intense pig smell, since the farm has a biodigester which converts the manure to energy; the farm wasn’t quite this smelly last year. I think the pigs were all a bit older this year, and maybe that is why the odor was so strong.

The final stop of the day was the meatpacking facility. Most of the day’s production occurred before we arrived, but we did get to see some workers hanging pieces of pigs that were going to be bacon one day. The facility smelled of ham, and the odor was intense. I mentally noted that even after the facility was cleaned, there were little bits of raw meat and pools of blood around. Maybe the most amazing part is that several (more than half!) of the students were willing to eat the ham offered by our hosts at the meatpacking plant.

The company was gracious to let us inside their farm and packing plant; I am not sure many of us have the chance to see meat production from the inside. I will post some pictures of the day tomorrow; they are on our UPEAP host’s camera and I am waiting for her to email them to me.

On an0ther note, the group of food studies students is wonderful. On our drive today, the bus was filled with happy hums of people talking. The group is harmonious and a pleasure to be with!

My other thought for the day is that I need to remind myself to be more grateful for the food I eat.

2 thoughts on “this little piggy”

  1. Last year I didn’t think being more smelly was possible! I have to say both the meat packing facility and the farm put my stomach off for awhile. In our group there was a lot of personal grappling with meat consumption after several of our stops. It would be interesting to see a survey of responses to meat eating during this trip and then a year later.

  2. I’ve spent a fair amount of time visiting small food production facilities in Italy. I’ve gone inside pig pens in the Emilia-Romagna region where prosciutto is produced and it is almost impossible to breathe. I realized after I left that I still smelled the odor because it had completely infused my hair and clothes. In any case, enjoy your trip!

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