Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Feather, fur, fin and all.

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You may have read in the newspapers recently that for more than 100 years, butchers in the market town of Sudbury in Suffolk have proudly displayed the produce they sell in their shop windows.

But now one has been forced to stop hanging game such as pheasants, partridges and rabbits in the shop front after a vicious campaign.

Staff at JBS Family Butchers, which has sawdust on the floor and takes great pride in its link to local suppliers and the countryside way of life, spent hours every week perfecting their window displays featuring meat and game.

Un-plucked birds and the occasional pig or deer head were hung up in its shop front in a small precinct in the Suffolk town. But it has reluctantly had to remove the display after it became the target of a campaign including anonymous hate mail and people hurling abuse in the shop. Others wrote to the local papers and posted remarks on Facebook calling for a boycott of the shop.

One local said "We are losing our grip on reality if we can’t abide being reminded where our sausages originate from". 

Then, almost the next day I read a well reasoned letter in the Scottish press from Katrina Candy, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust's press officer in Scotland. She just happened to be discussing the realities of food origins. I have copied a section of her letter here with was titled "Culture of Game".

"The stark reality of what we consume can be an emotive issue for some, not least the children and adults we interact with when delivering our successful Beyond the Farm Gate education programme. Integral to this project is a complete honesty about how and where game food is managed and consumed as a healthy, lean, natural food source.

Although the majority of children are wholly accepting and enjoy tasting the freshly cooked game produce we offer, we also face the inevitable remarks from teenagers who recoil at the thought of eating something which has (potentially) been shot – but who are remarkably accepting of the frozen nuggets and burgers on supermarket shelves of whose provenance and content they are blissfully unaware.

The education of the public as to what constitutes seasonal, healthy, sustainable food must continue – feather, fur, fin and all". 

How right she is. I think that all of us connected with the countryside, in whatever capacity, must make much more of an effort to explain to the public where our food comes from and how it is raised. Katrina mentioned "Beyond the farm gate" in her letter. You could start by taking a look at this website - although it originated in the states, it has a lot of good advice on using media techniques to get a message across:    

NB: Katrina has been in touch with me to add another nearer to home link! Go to: 

1 comment:

  1. Your text is all but unreadable due to the heavy background picture and the silly use a pale coloured type face.