Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pig farming in Morocco

This morning the BBC reported on the growing pork industry in Morocco, despite the Islamic prohibitions of pork consumption. They interviewed a pig farmer outside of Casablanca, who seemed quite satisfied and without qualm with his occupation. Others express their opposition that pork farming is forbidden as well as pork eating.

Pork-serving restaurants are popping up in the big cities like Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, although they will certainly meet significantly more resistance outside those boundaries. Demand stems from foreign tourists, expatriates, and, according to the farmer, young Moroccan bourgeouise who are eating more pork. When asked if he thought it was a problem, the farmer said people also drink wine, which of course is also forbidden. The everything-but-pork paradox he alluded to is something to be fathomed, but then again, who is to judge where is the beam or the splinter?

Which one religious leader seemed to echo when he said, "It is up to them," for his thoughts on the pig farmers. They will be held responsible before God.

Assertive enough for the religious side, but there might be a more earthly consequence for cultural identity. This certainly must be one piece of that paradox. Two things I am sure of: One is that a few weeks in a foreign country without pork never killed anyone. The other is that this is one more example of the changes and challenges that tourism brings to Morocco.