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. You can also meet Ethical Pork (and Ety) at the Sheridans Cheesemongers Food Fair in May each year.
Ethical Pork works exclusively with full bred Tamworth pigs. These rare breed pigs are farmed and treated ethically. All piglets are home bred and raised outdoors over a 8-12 month period. The "finisher pigs" and all sows with piglets are fed on a specialist pig feed from www.hipeak.co.uk . "Grower pigs" and mature sows are also fed on a livestock mix from www.robinsglen.ie. Both feeds are certified organic and free of antibiotics, steroids, herbicides, GMO, etc. The pigs live in forests where they 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.
The pigs are killed in Camolin, Co. Wexford (Christy Byrne Butchers) which is a small organic abattoir with high animal welfare standards (so no mass transports, no squeeling animals, no "shit" but instead clean straw on the floor, no panic, no frightened animals, etc.) Herd number is ZQ139 (Dept. of Agric.) All meat is cut up, vacuum packed and frozen by Christy Byrne in Camolin who also make the sausages and the dry cured bacon. All pork and bacon 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 and rotivating). 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 in the process). The farmer transports the pigs to the abattoir in Camolin, Co. Wexford. This is a long way but fortunately all motorway, apart from the first 20 min. All has been going well so far and the pigs are kept busy in the trailer by lots of feed, mingled with straw, on the floor of the trailer. Arriving at Camolin, the pigs are offloaded into pens with straw on the floor. Ety makes sure they are watered immediately after arrival (and again before she leaves...). She also ear tags them in the pen with small metal earmarks that do not hurt much when inserted.