Not long ago, author Jacqueline Yallop left the city with her husband to move to a remote farm in the South of France.
Originally only possessing their dog and some chickens, Yallop convinced her husband that it might be a good idea to raise some pigs. After all, within a year, they’d have their own ham and bacon without needing to go to the grocery store. At the very least, that was the original plan!
She unexpectedly began to grow fond of them.
— jacqueline yallop (@jacqyallop) April 1, 2016
According to Yallop’s website, she purchased two pigs to raise for food. But as she cared for the animals every day, she began to feel closer to them, and she wondered if she could really slaughter them.
Yallop decided to write a book about her experience called, “Big Pig, Little Pig.”
“This is a memoir about what it means to raise animals for meat in the modern age…an elegy to a rural France whose life and traditions are slowly dying out,” she wrote on the website.
Maybe you shouldn’t name animals meant for bacon…
A Friday pig picture just for fun. A shower on a sunny day. pic.twitter.com/SviedGG7Sd
— jacqueline yallop (@jacqyallop) April 15, 2016
According to the Telegraph, the title of the book comes from the names of the pigs. Normally, people try not to name animals that will one day end up on the dinner table!
But Yallop explained the names were only to be able to distinguish the pigs from each other and keep track of their health and how they were growing.
“It’s a pragmatic decision and we’re very careful: we don’t give them pet names or indulge in anything fanciful. We don’t want to make them cute or lovable; we simply want to be able to tell them apart.”
The book explores Yallop’s growing attachment to her pigs, while celebrating the relationship between humans and farm animals over the generations.
She learns that pigs are intelligent and fascinating creatures.
Ah yes. pic.twitter.com/3inIONfROl
— jacqueline yallop (@jacqyallop) July 20, 2016
Even for pigs, Yallop realizes that the two are unique individuals, especially when Little Pig tries to befriend the family dog, Mo.
“We’ve got an extrovert and an introvert. I’m taken with the discovery. There’s something calming about the way they go about things, their rhythmic, unruffled search for food, their confidence in finding it; there’s a pleasure in watching these sturdy, shapely beasts ambling between the trees,” she said.
But will she be able to slaughter them?
— jacqueline yallop (@jacqyallop) June 12, 2017
Yallop eventually voices her commitment to slaughtering the pigs, but as a testament to the history of society and the value of traditional ways of life, based on survival, not sentimentality.
“These are pigs for meat…not pets, not companions,” she wrote, according to the Telegraph.