Originally we bought our wild boars Lala and Lolo as workers. At age 14 months, Lolo became a father (Lala was 15 months at the time she gave birth). We decided to keep the suckling piglets until they could eat solid food. I proposed to Ketsanee we should eat them, but she said you can not eat your own animals. The same philosophy ruled in much of rural Sweden before the 1930’s, i.e. a farmer would exchange pigs with his neighbour, because eating his own animals could be too emotional. We sold three young wild boars and then Khun Densak, Ketsanee’s father, asked if we could eat one for New Year. Reluctantly Ketsanee and Nived agreed to this.
The six months old wild boar was slaughtered in the morning of the 30th of December. The meat was kept in the fridge until the following morning the 31st, when it was put in a marinade composed of fish sauce, oyster sauce, salt, soy sauce, garlic and black pepper. It was marinated for about ten hours in the fridge.
The resulting pork was heavenly soft and juicy. The wild boar flavour was faintly present in the bones, and the filet was absolutely superb. This wild boar had only been fed vegetarian food, mostly kitchen waste but also clippings from garden pruning and weeds such as Amaranthus viridis, Gomphrena celosioides and Leucaena leucocephala. Now and then they got fresh and organic bananas and taro. For anyone aiming at a permaculture, keeping some pigs or wild boar is a magic transformation of waste to delicious protein. They also provide digging and manure, and they are really cute animals.
To me and Khun Densak eating our wild boar was in no way an ethical conflict. I love plants too and feel pain when a plant dies. I am also aware that inside each little soybean is a living embryo, a life as sacred as a piglet. Eating is inevitable. Ketsanee prayed for the spirit of the wild boar and asked it for forgiveness. Producing your own food at home is very appealing to me. In Sweden slaughter is strictly regulated and controlled, and ‘black slaughters’ who do it at home are considered vile criminals. I challenge that philosophy. Why does simple things have to be so industrial (pig factories, computerized EU database of all domesticated farm animals, hormones, GMO feed, transportation by truck, governmental controllers, air-conditioned supermarkets and VISA-cards.) when all it takes is a pig, a garden and a knife?
Smell and hygiene? An indoor pig factory smells due to the copious amount of pigs kept, but our outdoor pig pen with eight wild boar does not smell at all. Hygiene is essential when slaughtering and I guess that and tax income are the reasons the governments want to regulate.
Here at Dokmai Garden in northern Thailand we have decided to keep the remaining two youngsters (both females) to increase the meat and manure production. Recently we also sowed alfalfa (Medicago sativa) to improve soil stability and to provide a rich pig feed.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell