How do you save a bizarre rare breed of pig once in danger of disappearing? Apparently, you eat it.

No shit. Its a sheep pig.
  • No shit. It's a sheep pig.

Such is the strange case of the sheep pig (a.k.a. Mangelica), a wooly porker once favored by Hungarians for their deliciousness and ability to thrive in cooler climates. Problem is, they can’t be kept in confined spaces and don’t take well to industrialization. Therefore, numbers dwindled… Until foodies stepped in.

Now Spanish cured Mangelica fetches $83/pound in New York specialty shops. That keeps the breed’s Spanish champion, a company called D’Artagnan, well funded and able to keep the sheep pig on earth.

But the Mangelica isn’t unique. The save-it-by-eating-it strategy is in full force among many different so-called “heritage breeds”. The idea is that more breeds mean more biodiversity and a larger variety of pork with unique characteristics. The way to get people interested in these breeds, it is thought, is to prove their worth as yummy pancetta or delicious rillettes. It’s not a bad idea. Certainly it’s better to have access to non-factory raised meat that’s been bred to handle specific climates and agricultural areas.

Still, there’s something strange about consuming an animal in order to ensure its survival. Not to mention the price. Yikes.

How do you feel about this, Blogtownies?