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Essex farmer launches campaign to remove ‘pig out’ from the dictionary – as it is “unfair on pigs”

PUBLISHED: 11:20 10 March 2018

Pigs at Wicks Manor Farm. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Pigs at Wicks Manor Farm. Picture: SU ANDERSON

A pig farmer from north Essex has launched a campaign to remove the term ‘pig-out’ from the dictionary as he claims it is “derogatory” to pigs.

Fergus Howie of Wicks Manor. Picture: SU ANDERSONFergus Howie of Wicks Manor. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Fergus Howie, of Wicks Manor Farm, near Maldon, says terms such as ‘pig-out’, ‘eat like a pig’ or ‘porker’ rely on the baseless assertion that pigs are greedy.

So this week the farmer has written to the Oxford English Dictionary to demand the terms are removed or redefined.

He said: “Further to the news announced last week by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) that pigs today are leaner than they have ever been, I would like to request that derogatory porcine terms such as ‘pig-out’, ‘eat like a pig’ or ‘porker’ are redefined within the Oxford English Dictionary.

“It has long been a bugbear of mine that people use porcine terminology to describe over consumption, especially when it comes to food.

Fergus Howie holding a piglet. Picture: SU ANDERSONFergus Howie holding a piglet. Picture: SU ANDERSON

“I grew up on our family pig farm in Essex, were we have been farming pigs for over 50 years, and firmly believe that they are no greedier than any other animal.”

He points out that British pigs are now 44% leaner than they were in the 1970s, according to research from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Meanwhile the human population has piled on the pounds, increasing in weight by 30% or 18kg since the 1950s.

Ther term ‘pig-out’ is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a bout of eating a large amount of food – for example a junk food pig-out’.

Fergus Howie of Wicks Manor Pork.  Picture: RAE SHIRLEYFergus Howie of Wicks Manor Pork. Picture: RAE SHIRLEY

The farmer, who rears pigs and also runs a cutting plant and has created his own pork brand, says he believed the “incorrect” definitions are driving people’s perceptions that pork is a fatty meat, and that has had a detrimental effect on the pork industry in recent years.

A survey of 2,000 British adults, commissioned by AHDB, found pork topped consumers’ list as the meat they think contains the highest level of fat, coming in above beef, lamb and chicken.

However, some cuts, such as pork fillet and loin medallions, are low in fat with less than 3% fat.

Carrie Ruxton, dietitian and nutritionist says; “Pork is often perceived as having a higher fat content than other meats. But pork medallions offer a tasty and healthy alternative to chicken breasts which can get a bit dull after a while. As well as being high in protein, pork is rich in B vitamins which support normal energy release and fight tiredness and fatigue.”

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