Iberian pig + happiness = quality Joselito ham
The quality of the meat we buy is influenced by an endless number of factors, and the animal’s stress levels are no exception.
Scientists from the Agri-food Research and Technology Institute (IRTA) are conducting a study to determine how the emotional state of the pig affects its wellbeing, both on the farm and at the slaughterhouse, and therefore the quality of the ham produced.
The project, titled “Markers and Animal Emotion” or ANEMONA, conducts various physiological analyses and animal behaviour studies to obtain the necessary information for establishing a relationship between the pig’s wellbeing and the quality of the end product.
“In previous research we noticed that the pig’s emotional state can modify biochemical and cellular parameters of the animal’s organism, which can in turn be used as stress markers,” states the project’s manager, Dr Antonio Valverde. “The current project seeks to go further and assess the affect of gender, genotype and handling conditions on the cognitive bias, and identify biomarkers for stress before and after slaughter, in the pig’s blood, saliva, brain, intestine and meat.”
So far these IRTA researchers have been able to determine that the comfort, hunger and any injuries that a pig may endure are fundamental in determining the quality of the product obtained.
At Joselito we have always thought that the more comfortable our ibérico pigs are and the better their living conditions, the better our products will be. That’s why for two years every one of our animals lives in complete freedom in their natural habitat, the dehesa, a beautiful ecosystem that is half way between Mediterranean forest and meadow land, where they enjoy three hectares of pasture per animal, which allows them to feed on acorns and natural grass, and enjoy the sunshine and open air. All these conditions mean that Joselito pigs can be called happy pigs.
The Happy Pig Joselito themselves look for food , a search that may lead them to travel 10 miles a day . Thus, Joselito pigs enjoy total freedom, besides follow a 100 % natural , free from any chemical diet.