Ethical Pork ltd is a smallholding close to Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland. It was established in 2013 as a one woman micro business. In June'13 Ethical Pork started trading at the Leopardstown Farmers Market and a few months later Ethical Pork joined the Producers Market in Dundalk. In 2015 Blackrock Centre (Co. Dublin) was added to the market list and in Feb.'16 Ethical Pork started trading at The Green Door Market in Dublin 8. However, from 2018 all Dublinmarkets have been ceased (due to overhead costs of some €700/month) and instead, email orders will be delivered to Pick up Points. In addition, whole or half pigs can be purchased (price by carcass weight).
Ethical Pork works exclusively with full bred Tamworth pigs. These rare breed pigs are bred, slow farmed and always handled ethically on the farm and in the forests where they live. All piglets are home bred and transferred back, together with the sow, into the forests where they live in groups of some 20 animals and up to 12 months of age. All pigs are fed on a specialist pig feed from www.hipeak.co.uk which is certified 100% organic and free of antibiotics, steroids, herbicides, GMO, etc. In the forests, the pigs roam freely on clean land. They have good shelter with straw as bedding and live up to 3 x longer than “factory farmed” pigs. "Ethical Pork" has been placed on the High Welfare Pork Directory; www.pigspledge.org because of high animal welfare standards.
Herd number is ZQ139 (Dept. of Agric.)
The pigs are killed in Lislin Meats, Mullagh, Co. Cavan, which is a specialised pig abattoir. Ethical Pork works with Flood Butchers in Oldcastle and recently with Coolanowle Organic Meats near Athy. All meat is cut up and vacuum packed by the butchers who also make the sausages and the dry cured bacon. All pork and bacon is stored at max. – 18*C at the farmer’s premises (registered with the HSE for the sale of frozen pork).
Tamworth pigs are ginger to yellowish and have long snouts and legs (ideal for digging). Tamworth sows are good mothers and no help is needed with birthing, apart from making sure that the litter is kept warm and that the sow is comfortable and has water and feed nearby. Weaning is "natural" around the age of 4 months; which is much longer as the 6 weeks required under organic standards. Ethical Pork pigs and litters are housed in calf hutches because these retain heat when topped up with straw. Because the pigs are grazing on pasture and out in forests, half of the pig's fat is unsaturated (the "good fat").
When the pigs are ready for slaughter, the farmer (Ety) loads them by feeding them in the trailer (no force is used at any stage). The farmer drives them to Mullagh, Co. Cavan (which is only a 20 min. drive) and offloads them into a pen on a Sunday afternoon. This ensures that the pigs are killed first (around 6 am) on Monday morning and before all the other pigs so the machines are still clean (and not yet switched on). Ety waters the pigs and leaves apples and feed on the floor before she returns home.