Thibault Hoppe-Glosser wants your garbage. The junior science and technology studies major is collecting food scraps to feed his pet, Carnito.
Carnito, a heritage breed pig, is being raised in Hoppe-Glosser’s backyard, somewhere in central Davis.
The pig eats two to three times a day – a total of 10 to 15 apples, a loaf of bread, handfuls of cheese and yogurt, and a shovel of acorns that Hoppe-Glosser collected from around town.
Though he’s asked some of his neighbors to help out, it is against city of Davis zoning laws to raise swine and he said he was worried he’d get in trouble. He’s also received donations from Village Bakery and the Davis Food Co-op.
“Whatever bread we have left over from the day before either gets donated or thrown away,” said Laura Doyle, a manager at Village Bakery.
It is this type of food waste that Hoppe-Glosser said he hopes to curtail.
“The idea with this pig is that I want to use 100 percent waste. I just want to recycle food in that way,” said Hoppe-Glosser. “I want to turn it into protein.”
That’s right, protein. Carnito will eventually become prosciutto and bacon.
“I am going to slaughter and eat him, but I really like him,” Hoppe-Glosser said.
Previously a vegan, Hoppe-Glosser said he now eats primarily free-range, organic and local meat. Raising Carnito is a practice in environmental and health consciousness.
“I don’t eat much meat at all. I chose something a little close to the middle for now. I figure [there is] all that waste and people are going to eat meat, so if I do it in a sustainable way, [it’s justified],” he said. “I pat my pig’s belly. I think that there’s really something to that.”
According to Kent Parker, facilities manager at the Swine Teaching and Research Center, Hoppe-Glosser’s pig project is not rare. This is how most of the world raises animals for meat.
The largest pig producer in the world is China and over half of their pigs are raised by individual families and fed table scraps, he said.
“While it seems like it’s unique and it’s not often done in Davis, in most parts of the world, raising a pig for personal use is the norm, not the exception,” Parker said.
Though housing swine is against city code, it is not illegal to slaughter them for food.
“You don’t need a license to harvest your own chickens or pigs or ducks. If you got really weird, you can’t kill dogs and cats for food because they’re not food animals,” Parker said. “
There are however, restrictions on what pigs are fed.
“You can’t go to the grocery store to buy spoiled meat and feed it to the pig. There are quite a bit of regulations for feeding by-product,” said Parker. “You are what you eat, so anytime you raise a pig or anything, you need to be conscientious of what it eats. Pigs are kind of green in that they consume leftover food.”
Though Carnito’s last day is unknown, Hoppe-Glosser said he is enjoying what time they have.
“I totally feel attachment to him,” said Hoppe-Glosser. “I make sure that he eats well and is enjoying himself. I want to make sure he’s happy.”
If you’re interested in contributing to Carnito’s diet, contact Hoppe-Glosser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BECKY PETERSON can be reached at email@example.com.