The Whole Hog

Een tijdje geleden las ik het boekje 'The Whole Hog - Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs' - Lyall Watson
Een paragraaf ging ook over onze Belgische trots: de Piétrain. Onze Geus is een kruising Landras en Pietrain. En de beer was dit jaar een Pietrain. Dus de biggen zijn hoofdzakelijk Pietrains.

"Just after the First World War, in the tiny village of Piétrain, 25 miles east of Brussels in Brabant province, a handful of farmers managed to produce a strangely spotted pig with hams that bulged in ways that were the envy of body-builders.
As a result of a single mutation, the rumps of these pigs became double-muscled, an excessive enlargement which provided an extremely high proportion of lean meat for fresh pork. These porks had a lean-to-fat ratio of 9:1, compared to the 6:1 ratio of most other lean breeds. However, in 1920, when post-war customers coveted fat, that was very bad news.
Nevertheless, and virtually unnoticed beyond the bounds of Piétrain, those few farmers continued to breed their muscle-bound pigs, refining the stock into otherwise solid, well-balanced animals with erect ears and black spots surrounded by off-colour haloes of grey-white hair. They were not pretty pigs. The hazy, irregular patterns on the coat gave them an undecided look, which only served to accentuate the unlikely, steatopygic bulge of their buttocks. But there is no denying that they where fascinating.
The Piétrain was rediscovered in 1950, and a breed book was opened in 1953. By 1955, it was being exported to France, and in the early 1960s it played a major role in compensating for over-fatty breeds in Germany. The world population of this 'Muscle Pig' is now probably about 40000 breeding sows. It is not endangered any more, but there is a catch. The same gene which provides the extravagant hams of lean meat also saddles the Piétrain with a less desirable characteristic. These pigs are prone under any kind of stress, to suddenly drop down dead.
It doesn't take much. Being boxed for transport, or mixed with strange animals, or even the exercise involved in mating or farrowing, is often enough to make a Piétrain's temperature rise irreversibly. It just keeps getting hotter and hotter, until it cooks its own brain."

Gelukkig hebben wij, noch onze piggies last van stress.

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