The full horror only began to dawn on hungover shoppers on Sunday morning. Men dragged out of their beds by their wives for Christmas shopping, lured by the promise of “a fry” when they got to Dundrum, saw the annihilation of breakfast taking place in front of their eyes, splashed across their Sunday Worlds. Pig was off the menu. One distraught LUAS passenger actually likened it to the famine. That was certainly how it looked as they filed past the breakfast counter with their trays, like extras from Oliver!, gazing at scrambled egg, hash browns, tomato, beans and mushrooms. “No sausages, no?” came enquiry after enquiry from disbelieving punters. Such was the absolute desperation of sausage lovers, that the saintly Linda McCartney’s vegetarian versions were the order of the day in my local SuperValu. Civilisation as we know it had crumbled, and quickly. What is it about eating crap that sustains the nation? The health pages of any publication you care to mention go on at length about people being obese and minding what they put inside them; yet no one really knows what odds and sods end up inside sausages, do they? They simply trust that someone somewhere is regulating it and ensuring it won’t poison people.
What’s even more obvious is, no one in the farming or food industries seems to give much of a monkey’s what anyone feeds pigs. Every day we open our papers, there are farmers on the moan about the injustices of farming, but can they honestly say they make their livestock’s short lives even bearable? This is just something else for these selfish capitalists to make placards about. But now the government seem to hope the EU are going to dole out crisis money because no one else here wants to carry the can. The EU should tell them where to sling their meathooks, until such a time as everyone involved in this sorry, sordid industry cleans their act up from top to bottom. And that includes the government. I know it’s been said before, but is there any government accountability at all in Ireland? Everywhere you look, there are big piles of shit, created by government neglect, all waiting to hit a fan near you. And all anyone ever does is point the finger elsewhere.
Naturally, as a vegetarian of 25 years’ standing, my sympathy is with the pigs. To the junior members of my household, who are staunch fans of Peppa Pig and Babe, piggies are loveable creatures and not food, and I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not preaching vegetarianism to others, but out of this whole sorry business, maybe people ought to think a little more carefully about what they put into their mouths; not just about the food and its contents, but about the scruples of people who are producing meat and offal products and those who are, nominally at least, there to maintain their standards.