The Grouse hunting season begins today but inclement weather in Scotland is affecting this year’s shoot. I hope those in pursuit of these birds will remember to take great care so as not to disturb the wild Haggis. This furry creature, with its two inside legs shorter than its two outside legs which allow it to run easily along hillsides are becoming an endangered species.
A movement is afoot to stop Battery Haggis Farming.
The life of a battery Haggis
If the neep is a male, it will be killed by gassing. The female neep is taken to a new environment with hundreds of other day-old neeps. The neeps are kept under heat lamps for warmth, either in ‘training’ cages or in deep litter sheds. Their food and water are provided via automated electronically controlled methods. Their light is timer-controlled, and large fans keep the air circulating. An unknown proportion of female neeps undergo ‘de-snouting’, which means that the haggis’s snout is partially amputated – many die of shock or their injury after this operation has taken place.
The neep grows up and becomes a haggis. If she has not been in a cage from day one, she will be put in a battery cage made entirely of thin wiremesh . The cage measures 50cm by 50cm (20 inches by 20 inches), and she shares this cage with four other haggis.. The cages are kept in a large windowless building, and are usually stacked in tiers six high. The haggis are fed and watered automatically, and their homogenised food is treated with antibiotics, colouring and medication. Their dung is taken away from the cages via conveyor belts. She will stay in the wire battery cage until her sixth week of life she will be hung by her feet on a conveyor belt and her throat will be cut by an automatic knife, unless she moves then she will have part of her head sliced off.
As Robert Burns wrote:
“Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis! “
BUY ONLY FREE RANGE HAGGIS
However I much prefer to savour a traditional Malt – hopefully international crop failures will not affect the production and supply of my winter night cap !