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re the dangers of blogging and pity for pigs

A certain writer friend of mine got into trouble recently, and it was my fault. His agent has his name on Google Alert, and so every time I write here about him coming over to give me advice or have dinner, she reads about it. “Who’s that woman who keeps blogging about you?” she asked recently. “And why weren’t you writing?”

So you’ll understand why, from now on, my friend will be referred to as W’sn Ch*y. FYI, W’sn Ch*y and I had dim sum today with Almeda from Paris and Lesley from across the street. A man, even a writer with a deadline, has to eat, mon dieu.
There are no secrets any more. Even though I post my life on a blog, it surprises me when someone has read it. A student coming into my house recently cried, “Let’s see the mink!” referring to a purchase mentioned on a recent blog. When I first started to use email, about 20 years ago – was there ever a time before email? – it felt as if the world had shrunk into a series of village huts, and we were all standing at the door of our own hut waving and calling to our neighbours. But now, we’re all living together in one gigantic electronic hut, constantly checking up on each other with the internet and cell phones, tweets and blogs and Facebook and Skype and cameras everywhere. There’s a wonderful new New Yorker cover of parents taking their children trick or treating, the kids at the door asking for candy and the parents lined up on the sidewalk, faces lit by the glow of the Blackberries and cell phones they’re staring at.
Crazy. I am so far out of the loop, with no cell phone, barely knowing how an iPod works or even, despite Bruce’s help and quickie notes, how to use my DVD player. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes, when I watch people staring at a minuscule screen as the world goes by, I’m glad.
Another issue to deal with: in the Star last week was an article about an Ontario pig farmer who was having trouble paying his electricity bill. A picture showed him in his barn, standing in front of hundreds of small metal pens, inside of each of which was a pig. The pens were barely big enough for one; no question of movement. Horrifying. Is it possible that this animal, which has been proven to be loyal and loving with the intelligence of a three-year old, is being raised in this profoundly inhumane way?
I went to Mark my local butcher, a friend for many years, asked, “Do you know where your pork comes from?” and told him about the picture. He said he’d ask. “Are you sure,” he asked me a few days later, “they weren’t farrowing pigs?” I know that pigs with newborns are put in special pens to protect the young; they do it at Riverdale Farm. No, there were no young in these pictures. He told me that his pork comes from a depot. So, probably from a farm like the one in the picture; perhaps that very one.
Another meat group hit the dust – veal and lamb almost completely off-limits and now pork, unless I can find a place which certifies that they are raised in a relatively humane way. I’m not a vegetarian; I want to eat small quantities of meat, though I do prefer mostly vegetables and legumes. Being a vegetarian simply takes too much time and energy, not only at home but when visiting. Plus I like meat. I especially like pork. Liked. I just didn’t want to know how it got to Mark’s store.
And now they tell us that many fish are endangered, mercury levels etc.
Do any of you know anything about pig farming, or where to buy ethical meat? Is there such a thing, or am I just grasping at rationalisations and straws? Can anyone enlighten me?
Time for a peanut butter sandwich. I’ll call W’sn Ch*y and see if he wants one too.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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