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The cold hand of regulation is destroying the traditional winter pig slaughter across Europe. Still, at a Slow Food event in Edinburgh, I get to see a pig being dismembered

By Alex Renton   January 2008

We were gathered in a cold upstairs room, 20 of us, making a respectful circle around the corpse as it lay on a steel table. The Italian butchers were sharpening their knives—cleavers, choppers, long thin blades with upward curves for separating fat from skin, flesh from bone. What we were about to watch was an ancient winter rite, once universal, now half-forgotten and barely legal. As the knife was raised over the hairless flesh, I found myself looking over my shoulder, half-expecting some breathless enforcers of decency to burst through the door—the inquisition, the police, the Edinburgh health and safety…

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