Local food movements are a growing trend among communities. The aim is to support the local economy, and reduce environmental impact, along with other reasons. However, when it comes to eating animals, is local really that much better?

Farmers in Italy seem to think so. Just the other day, The Guardian reported, “Italian farmers paraded small, pink pigs in protest outside parliament on Thursday, declaring they were being driven to ruin by hams and salami sold as ‘made in Italy’ but produced largely elsewhere.”

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So, it would seem as though at least the idea of a local food movement is working – but the farmer’s are claiming that the products themselves are mislabeled and people are buying foreign pork products, rather than their own.

“Too many products with an unclear origin enter our country on a daily basis and then magically become ‘made in Italy’ simply because we lack a clear law on the [labeling],” Coldiretti (Italian Agricultural Group) president Roberto Moncalvo said, via The Guardian.

Certainly, as a local farmer, this injustice would be cause for concern and something that the public should be informed of. However, by using piglets as the “mascots” of this protest, they have brought in a confusing element of ethics. Namely, it’s not really more ethical to eat local meat than it is to eat imported meat, both are killing a sentient being.

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Could there be an argument that it is slightly more ethical to eat local meat since the animals could be raised in better conditions, perhaps have a shorter travel from the farm to the slaughterhouse? Sure, but in the end, the two end up in the same place. It is a battle of local versus international agriculture, and the animals are sadly caught in the middle.

Image Source: A. Sparrow/Flickr

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