Why are Heritage Breed hogs special?

This piece is from the Large Black Hog Association's website regarding Heritage Breeds:

Heritage hogs are those relatively distinct breeds that were present before industrial farming, when all hogs were kept out on pasture.  When industrial hog farms started to predominate, the hogs that were raised in those confined facilities slowly lost the ability to forage for food and endure temperature extremes. The old breeds gradually fell out of favor and some breeds disappeared altogether due to not producing effectively in factory farms.

A few dedicated hog breeders, however, held on to some of the old breeds to keep them from becoming extinct. It is these old breeds, that we call “heritage” breeds, that are now critically important. They retain the traits that were so valuable in their ancestors and are very desirable now that more people are becoming food conscious. 

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Large Black Hog History 
(from The Livestock Conservancy):

After World War II, the shift toward intensive husbandry of pigs led to the decline of outdoor breeds that were not competitive indoors.  The Large Black nearly became extinct during the 1960s, and remains one of the rarest British pig breeds. In 1973 the breed was put on the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s critically endangered livestock list, and recently graduated from critically endangered to threatened in 2015.

The Large Black is known for their: 

  • Excellent flavor 
  • Pasture skills 
  • Marbeled-meat with short muscle fibers provide for exceptional bacon and moist pork with an Old-World flavor
However, they are slow growers and therefore take twice as long to reach market weight (LargeBlackHogAssociation.org).
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