Guess we should have expected it. “When pigs fly,” the expression meaning “ain’t never gonna happen,” has gone to hog heaven. No, folks, pigs today don’t really fly, but they may be getting high, thanks to legislators in Washington (the state, that is, although most of us probably suspect the dopes in our nation’s capitol have been smoking the stuff for years).
It seems that since their state became the first to legalize recreational marijuana use, cannabis growers there need a way to dispose of marijuana waste and— By golly! Wouldn’t you know it? — someone has come up with a solution. According to several reports on the Internet, pig farmers in Washington have started feeding these drug dregs (stems, roots, seeds, and leaves) to their herds. (Could the pot-bellied pig have been ahead of his time?) Not only that, according to Reuters, there already are rules governing this enterprise. The downside (for all the potheads out there) is that the marijuana waste must be “rendered unusable prior to leaving a licensed producer or processor’s facility.” On the upside, however, the regulations stipulate that mixing it with real food waste is “acceptable,” thus making it perfectly suitable for slopping hogs.
Already pig farmers are seeing positive results produced by these new porcine provisions. At her farm north of Seattle, Susannah Gross fed four members of one litter “potent plant leavings during the last four months of their lives.” By the time these not-so-little piggies went to market they weighed 20 to 30 pounds more than the rest of their littermates. Says Gross, “They were eating more, as you can imagine.”
Well, I couldn’t until I did a little research. Seems studies confirm that marijuana use stimulates the appetite (gives you “the munchies”) thus producing weight gain, i.e., smoking pot makes you fat. I’m not sure that only the pigs’ appetites were responding to the weed waste mix, though. I suspect they were feeling pret-ty good during those four months—maybe even experienced “tickled pigs’ feet.” (Insert groan here.) By the time they figured out where they were headed they probably didn’t even care anymore. (Actually, there’s no real evidence that THC, the mind altering chemical in cannabis, is transferred to animal tissue by pot-enhanced feed. Or so says the European Food Safety Authority.)
Economics is another reason for raising these weed eaters. While the pigs may or may not be getting high, the prices of more conventional feed such as corn and soy are. As a result, “small farmers are looking for new, free sources of livestock feed,” according to NPR radio station KPIU in Seattle. Local butcher William von Schneidau feeds marijuana refuse to his pigs which, in turn, become prosciutto for his BB Ranch butcher shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The weed scraps, which he gets from a medical marijuana co-op, provides more fiber, says von Schneidau, and gives the meat a more savory flavor. He also says the meat is redder (delish.com). So much for the other white meat.
Another report (msn.com) quotes von Schneidau as saying the pot-eating pigs get not only fatter but also lazy, barely able to lift their heads. Not surprising, but there’s more to the story than that. The enterprising von Schneidau has contracted with a distillery for spent vodka grains which he adds to the porkers’ menu as well. (http://www.seattlemet.com/eat-and-drink/nosh-pit.) Now tell me, if you were dining on weed and booze wouldn’t you be a little sluggish, too? Potted and besotted at the same time. What a way to pig out!
In March von Schneidau held a “Pot Pig Gig” dinner, a sold-out success. He plans another this summer. The local populace is licking its chops already. If he’s not careful, von Schneidau may end up hosting the entire ’60’s generation at his joint. Wow— Pigstock!
So, now we have stoner swine. Eventually cattle ranchers may feed this stuff to their stock. They could call it “mooster” (a slang term for marijuana). Of course, then we’d have to rethink the whole idea of “grass-fed” beef and “pot” roast.
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