The damage: Hannah Jones counts the cost of getting an organic pig to market

The British have always had a soft spot for pigs. Humanised in films, from Babe to the forthcoming Waking Ned, pigs have shown a talent for stealing the scene, along with our affections. The Tamworth Two acquired an overnight fan club earlier this year when they made their bid for freedom - now they are even stars of their own children's books.

The organic pig, however, is so pampered that it would have no reason to want to escape. To be certified organic, strict criteria on medical care, feeding, and living conditions have to be fulfilled. Even the land the pigs live on has to be kept to the organic standards defined by the Soil Association.

The benefits of organic pork include claims for much tastier, firmer meat which is, as far as possible, free from contaminants such as pesticides. However, all this means that it does cost a little extra to bring home the organic bacon ...

This little piggy The cost per year of keeping a sow until her 17-strong litter is weaned at 10 weeks: 2.2 tonnes of organic feed, pounds 550; Feeding trough, pounds 30; water trough, pounds 4.29; medical and vet costs (including homeopathic and herbal remedies such as garlic and grapefruit extract), pounds 14; rental of land (with extra space for the pigs to roam), pounds 30; dry sow arc (one per eight pigs) pounds 29.04, and farrowing arc, pounds 33.36; fencing, pounds 5.94; bedding straw, pounds 3.75; transport costs, pounds 39.60; pig trailer, pounds 9.90; feed trailer, pounds 16.50; staff, pounds 200. Total of pounds 966.38, divided by 17, pounds 56.85

Fat of the land The cost of raising a pig from the 10-week weaner stage to the fully adult stage, pounds 68.13

In at the kill Cost of humane transport to the abattoir and slaughter at around six months, pounds 10

Total, pounds 134.98

Source: Helen Browning of the Eastbrook Organic Farm, Bishopstone, Swindon (01793 790462)

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