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Lately the meat industry has been on my mind. I will explain a few things on Irish meat specifically, which includes beef, lamb, chicken, and pork. COVID-19 has hit the meat industry hard; meat factories are a hot spot for the virus. Countless people have been infected with COVID-19 from factories and some people have died that worked in meat factories or abattoirs. The environment is a breading ground for bacteria and employees being in proximity for long periods of time only helped increase their risk. Factory work is a fast-paced job that’s physically exhausting and this often leads to a drop in a person’s immunity to infection.

The beef situation with farmers has been an issue way before COVID-19 however, protesting outside processing plants over what they feel is a discrepancy between the prices they receive, and the prices paid by consumers in the stores.

In Ireland, some traditional meat dishes include: crubeens (boiled pigs’ feet), Dublin Coddle (made of leftovers like rashers & sausages) Guinness pie (beef) bacon & cabbage, Irish stew, Irish sausage & black & white pudding. In Ireland many of the dinners were boiled years ago.

Ireland has some of the best pastures in the world which allows farmers to produce the best beef. Over 80% of all Irish beef is grass fed. Ireland is the fifth largest beef exporter in the world & the largest exporter in all of Europe.

Pork was probably the most common meat consumed in Ireland years ago. Raising a pig for home consumption was commonplace. However today I think chicken is the most consumed meat. Bacon used to be suspended on a hook and cured. (fletch). Sausages made of salted pork was a common ingredient.

Despite the decline of sheep in Ireland sheep production is still an important farm enterprise. Donegal has the most sheep out of all the counties. The most common sheep in Ireland is the Scottish black face. Farmers paint their sheep to distinguish which sheep belongs to which farmer. We get mutton and wool from sheep. Irish lamb is highly rated in Europe.

The times are changing in Ireland and in the world in that meat isn’t the main player anymore. In 2019 Dublin was named most vegan friendly city in the world.  People are turning to meat alternatives such as Beyond meat, Quorn & tofurky.

I suppose it is healthy to cut back on meat, but I still enjoy my Irish breakfast at the weekend. Our daughter doesn’t eat mean so it’s a familiar topic in our household.
I will leave you with this story:

“The Trouble Tree”
“The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and his pickup truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in silence. On arriving he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the branches with his hands. Upon opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His face had a huge smile, and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. “Oh, that’s my trouble tree”, he replied. “ I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but troubles don’t belong in the house. So, I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again. But “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
If you have any comments please call: (708) 425-7021   

This past year I have really enjoyed the phone calls I have received about my short editorials. A warm thank you to Cliff & Cathy for everything they do.

My wife Mary & I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas & Happy New Year~ Let’s toast to yesterday’s achievements & tomorrows bright future. Wishing all of you health, wealth & happiness in 2021!

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