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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/705

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623
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE COMMON HOG

from the world. The cold is intense, so that a great amount of fat is needed to keep up the warmth of the body. Some twenty or more years since one or two of the chief pork packers in Canada imported a number of Large Yorkshire pigs from one of our best herds. The improvement in the form and quality of the pigs was so great other importations were made. Then a few Tamworths were tired. These also tended to increase the proportion of lean in the country pig, so that at the present time nearly all the pigs killed and cured in the bacon factories—of which several have recently been built—are of the Yorkshire crossed with Berkshire, Tamworth, Poland China and native pigs. At the present time Canadian bacon is very largely consumed in this country, where the price realized for it is greatly in excess of that made of the American bacon. This for two reasons: the quality is superior, due to the pigs having been fed on a mixed diet and dairy offals, instead of mainly maize, and the form of the side of bacon and ham is better, the finer quality parts forming a greater proportion of the side. The marvellous improvement in the quality of the Canadian bacon is clearly shown in the following extract from a speech recently made by Mr. F. W. Hodson, the Live Stock Commissioner at Ottawa, a man to whom the Canadian farmers are deeply indebted:—

"Twelve years ago we exported $600,000 worth of inferior bacon; now we are exporting nearly $15,000,000 worth of superior bacon. The measure of success achieved is mainly due to breeding along one line—the line of bacon hogs. We have not yet gone as far as we should have gone. In Denmark they use one breed only (the White Yorkshire), and the result is that Danish bacon sells at five to ten shillings per long cwt. above Canadian bacon. The Danes do not feed better than our people, but they breed better. You cannot produce the first-class bacon required to build up our export trade in this line if you use the thick, fat American breeds of hogs as your foundation stock. By using the right kind we can share in the monopoly of the best bacon trade in the world (the English), which is now divided between Denmark, Ireland, a small part of England and ourselves."

This remarkable and correct speech clearly points out the sources of supply of the enormous quantity of breakfast bacon now consumed in England. A few years ago Ireland furnished us with all the imported bacon, then Germany and Sweden. After a time the protective duties on feeding stuffs so raised the price of the raw article, that the fatted pig was too dear to be converted into bacon at a profit. The bacon factories in these protected countries were closed, and others opened in Denmark, where the Government has greatly helped the farmer and the bacon factor by giving a bonus on every pedigree breeding pig imported from the best herds in England, and in charging the lowest possible railway rates on pigs and bacon. The Govern-