By Sarah Hall

Dim Sim prices are predicted to increase by over 400% later this month. The predicted spike is the inadvertent result of the Sea Shepherd’s War on Whalers which has resulted in a public discourse about animal valuation methods within the pig farming community, and their decision to sell scrap pig mince at a higher price, on average $48 per kilo compared with $11 per kilo for the same time last year. The new price of $48 per kilo is based on the current trade price of whale meat in Japan, factoring in the AU- JPN exchange rate. 

This drastic decision by the pig farming community was spurred on by the ‘touching’ keynote speech delivered by radical ex-pig farmer Sally McIlroy at last month’s pig farming convention in the Hunter Valley. McIlroy opened by saying that she was “disturbed” by the unfavourable reputation that pigs have in popular discourse and folklore, confident in her affirmation that “no forms of sentient life should be valued more highly than others, and yet we see that pigs have a reputation in our society for being dirty and greedy. In my ten years as a pig farmer I learned that this was definitely not the case.”

She went on to speak about the moral contradictions within the pig farming industry in Australia. She problematised the trend of vilifying other cultures for their meat-eating practices before “looking within”.

She pointed to Japanese whaling practices to support her argument, suggesting that pig farming could in fact be considered more immoral than whaling because “if we think about the amount of meat that can be distributed and eaten per animal killed, you get more than 200 times the amount of meat from a whale compared with your average Large White (the Large White is a common breed of pig farmed for meat in Australia).”

She also mentioned the fact that whales, being completely “free range”, are able to enjoy healthy, happy lifestyles before they die, when compared with pigs whose living conditions have been on the decline since meat demand increased with the Baby Boomers. 

“Whale farming,” she added, “does not result in the production of dangerous greenhouse gasses like methane.”

The speech had a great effect on many of the convention’s attendees, who organised an impromptu meeting the next day to discuss how they could incorporate this new perspective into their farming practice and trade. 

“I farm free range and have always looked after my stock pretty well,” said organic pig farmer of 19 years Peter Jesk, “but I have always sold them (the pigs) at competitive prices to keep myself in business. After hearing Sally speak I can now see how the pigs deserve as high a price tag as the most highly valued animal sold for meat in the world, whales, for they are no less precious.”

Concerns have been raised amongst the meat eating community that pig meat will become inaccessible for the middle to low socioeconomic groups of society. Particular concerns have been raised about Dim Sims, which have a reputation not only for being the everyman’s affordable pit-stop snack, but are also an important piece of Australian iconography. 

Head Chef of Gee Gee’s, the gastronomical epicentre of Melbourne’s hip and vibrant restaurant scene, publically announced last night via twitter, “I think the increase in the price of pigs meat is both a positive and a negative thing.” 
When The Sum Times approached him for further comment he declined an interview. 

On Q&A last night the guest pig farmer said “I suppose I had always thought that Japanese whaling was worse than pig farming because you hear so much about the cruelty of whaling in the news, and the heroism of anti-whaling pirates, but as pig farmers we are just treated like we’re doing this great thing, you know, feeding Australia. Now that I realise that pigs might be as good as whales, I am starting to question the whole profession altogether.”

The girl panellist with short hair responded, “There seems to be a huge hole in this conversation. Whaling is problematic because many of the hunted whale species are endangered, and may become extinct as a result of it. Humans hunt but do not repopulate whale populations. We do not have this problem with pig farming.”

But Sally McIlroy, who gave the influential speech that began this whole debacle, took a short course in bioethics in January. So she would probably know.