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A Cambridge academic was inspired to go vegan after studying the history of pork, according to an article in the Independent.
Research led archaeologist Dr Pía Spry-Marqués to learn about pigs – and how empathetic, social and sensitive they are – as well as about the desperate conditions on factory farms.
According to the book’s publisher: “Pig/Pork: Archaeology, Zoology, Edibilityexplores the love-hate relationship between humans and pigs through the lenses of archaeology, biology, history and gastronomy, providing a close and affectionate look at the myriad causes underlying this multi-millennial bond.
“What is it that people in all four corners of the world find so fascinating about the pig? When did the human obsession with pigs begin, how did it develop through time, and where is it heading?
“Why are pigs so special to some of us, but not to others?”
‘Not worth it’
Before researching the tome, Dr Spry-Marqués enjoyed eating pork. She told the Independent: “The only time I saw pigs were the dead piglets on display in Spanish butchers, or legs of ham in restaurants and bars.
“But you’re so disengaged it doesn’t shock you to see their pale soft skin on the counter. Now I think about it, it shocks me that it didn’t shock me before.
“I love Iberico ham. I love chorizo. But it’s just not worth it.”
Dr Spry-Marqués, who subscribes to Dr Melanie Joy’s philosophy of carnism, which describes why society eats meat, says: “We’re conditioned by an invisible belief system that encourages us to eat animals which is shared by all meat-eating cultures.
“If you think about the millions of different animals out there, we’ve only chosen a few that we class as edible. The others are seen as disgusting. Just imagine eating a rat.”
She hopes her book will help people start to question this.
“I want them to realise there is a lot of history behind each animal we eat,” she says. “And if one person goes vegan as a result and reconsider their food choices then my deed is done.”