Consider how both Joel Salatin, the farmer- activist celebrated in Michael
Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2007), and Eliza MacLean describe their
own husbandry practices in terms of porcine possibilities. Salatin notes:
“Plants and animals should be provided a habitat that allows them to ex-
press their physiological distinctiveness. Respecting and honoring the
pigness of the pig is a foundation for societal health” (Polyface 2008). Mac-
Lean says much the same about her herd: “All they know in their life is
pigness— they get to root, wallow, and naturally breed” (Weigl 2008, d1).
This “pigness” highlights the notion that pigs have their own unique, ir-
reducible qualities that are central to their well- being and to the husbandry
practices through which they are raised. This conception also entails the
understanding that pigness can also be subverted or thwarted. It is an
ever- present potential, but it has to be permitted to fully express itself. In
this way, it is both in the pigs and a quality that shapes good husbandry.
Moreover, if it is properly attended to, a variety of pigness is available to
the consumer of the pork that comes from such pigs. One chef who offers
pasture- raised pork told me, echoing the gustatory lingo of con temporary
discernment: “A lot of people still want that [flavor]. It tastes like some-
thing. It tastes a little bit more like an animal, a little bit barnyard.” Pigness
is central to “real pigs” as I have described them throughout this work; it
is an au thentic feature of the animal that guides proper (also described as
“au thentic”) farm management and pig husbandry.
Au then tic Connections
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