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The Green Life: Sausage Man Wants You to Look Your Meat in the Face

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March 06, 2012

Sausage Man Wants You to Look Your Meat in the Face

SulzePatrons of Germany’s Meine kleine Farm will find their next jar of sulze adorned with a photo of the pig from whence it came. The project is the brainchild of Dennis Buchmann (pictured below), a 34-year-old journalist and biologist who’s currently completing a master's degree in governance at Berlin’s Humboldt-Viadrina school. He believes that consumers of head cheese should be aware of its origin.

Buchmann buys his pigs from farmer Bernd Schulz. One day, he found himself stumped — there were five adults in Mr. Schulz's wallow, and Buchmann didn't know which one to choose. He photographed them all, posted the headshots online, and asked his customers to vote on Facebook.

Pig 2 — pink with black spots and batty ears — was the first to meet its maker. Pig 5, which has a Friday appointment with the butcher, will be the last to go because it garnered the fewest votes. Despite its wayward gaze and black-speckled butt, though, it sold out in just a few days.

Dennis buchmannThe venture’s slogan is “Wir geben Fleisch ein Gesicht,” which translates, roughly, to “We give meat a face.” But considering that meat already had a face once, back when it was pig, more accurate phrasing might be “We give meat its face back.” And it’s more of a jingle.

To a certain degree, Buchmann appreciates the sacrifice that goes into forging meat, and so he envisions animal as a delicacy, something to be consumed conservatively and only in its most artisanal forms. Carnivores should recognize the bloody price of sausage, he says: “As a meat eater, you should accept that animals die for your meat. By looking your meat in the face, you stumble and think about eating meat. Give meat a little more respect than a carrot, for example.” But one must wonder if the people who frenzied for this particular batch of schlackwurst are also the ones who would think twice after looking Pig 5 in the face.

At Schulz’s farm, the pigs roll in the mud, eat organic feed, and play liberally with fellow swine. If there is such a thing as humane meat consumption, Buchmann’s customers are supporting it.

--Jake Abrahamson/ images courtesy of Dennis Buchmann

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