When a perspective shift on pigs does happen, our view of food could correspondingly transform. During my call to Montgomery about Christopher Hogwood, she imagined addressing a notional pig consumer: ‘That ham sandwich you’re eating could have grown up and done as much for some other family as Christopher did for me, but instead became a passing flavour on somebody’s tongue. It just seems such a sad, terrible waste.’ Here is a 180-degree turn away from the view of a pig’s life as existing to please, even for a moment, human beings. Once this perspective-change happens, eating a pig looks like what it is: an ‘absurd, criminal waste of a life for just one meal’, in the apt words of the Swiss primatologist Christophe Boesch.
Chevreul was one of France's most prestigious scientists by the time he conducted these investigations. By the 1850s, table-turning (also called table-tilting or table-rapping) had become the rage among spiritualists, both in North America and in Europe. In a typical session, a small group of persons, usually called "sitters," would sit around a table with their hands resting upon its top. After an extended period of expectant waiting, a rap would be heard or the table would tilt upon one leg. Sometimes the table would sway and begin moving about the room, dragging the sitters along. Occasionally, sitters would claim that the table actually levitated off the floor. Table-turning was what first attracted many prominent scientists to the investigation of psychic phenomena. During the summer of 1853, several English scientists decided to investigate this phenomenon. Contemporary theories attributed table-turning to such things as electricity, magnetism, "attraction," the rotation of the earth, and Karl von Reichenbach's "Odylic force." Electricity, which the public at that time considered to be an occult and mystical force, was the most popular of these explanations.