Saturday, 19 December 2009

Ham or not?

Traditionally ham is eaten at Christmas in the Nordic countries, so also here in Finland.

At this time of the year the supermarkets are full of hams in all sizes, ecologically grown and traditionally grown from various manufacturers salted in different ways and the prizes may vary quite a bit from where you live and which supermarket you shop in. This year the prizes may drop even more than previous years as we get closer the Christmas.

All that is Finnish has been considered as better, cleaner and safer than anything imported from abroad and so far that has been the same with the traditional Christmas ham. This year it is not discussed whether or not to glaze the ham or in what way to do it but whether to get a ham or not and many hams might not be sold at all as Finnish pig meat, or the pig farmers have lost their good image.

An activist group called "Justice for animals" secretly filmed Finnish pig farms two years ago publishing their filmed material, which was not nice to look at. The condition of some of the pigs were, well, I'd rather not mention it here so I guess you get the picture. I am sad to say I do not anymore recall what, or if anything came out of their action then, as I doubt the details of the farms in question were ever made known to the officials. But when doing the same thing this year again the Finnish Food Safety authority did inspect the farms in question and found major
negligence in half of them.

Anyway, protests are rare in the middle of parliamentary sessions here in Finland, but earlier this week one took place, and this when TV was broadcasting the discussion that was taking place at the time. Two persons hung a streamer from the second floor balcony stating "Is this what we want to do to the animals?" together with a picture of a pig lying down for all the world to be seen.

Strangely enough, the pig industry was granted government funds to clean up the image of Finnish pig meat not too long ago...and this prior to these incidents as far as I know. So the funds might come in handy for a campaign for improving the image, but what I am really concerned about is the conditions of the pigs...not the farmers that treat them badly.

So the big question in Finland this year is not whether to get an ecologically grown ham but if to get a ham at all for Christmas...

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