Rare wild boar being served up
Wild boar have made a return to the region where farmer Robert Whitby has become one of the few people in the country to rear the rare animals – for the dinner plate.
With its frightening looking tusks and flavoursome taste the animal was a popular sport and food of the noble classes until they hunted it to extinction in medieval times.
Some of the boar survived on mainland Europe in the forests of Germany, France and Denmark. From these countries some breeding animals have, in recent years, been brought back to Britain, where they are now farmed in a handful of locations.
Robert Whitby, of Mousehall Farm in Clent, near Stourbridge, is one of the only men to breed, raise, slaughter and serve wild boar from the same site.
The 50-year-old farmer breeds and raises herds of up to 50 all year round in Clent serving them in his neighbouring pub The Vine Inn.
He said: "I have been running the farm for years and when I took over the pub recently I wanted to make it a real traditional country pub. One of the aims is to see a return to game on the menu like venison and wild boar.
"It is not everyones cup of tea but it is something different for people who want to try something unusual. At the moment we have got wild boar loins with a cider and cranberry sauce on the menu for about £11.50."
In order to keep wild boar Mr Whitby had to get a special licence for what are classed as Dangerous Wild Animals.
He said: "They do have big ferocious razor like tusks and they are dangerous animals. I would not turn my back on one. But they are kept behind electric fencing and looked after properly."
Since wild boar are covered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, as amended in 1984, certain legal requirements have to be met prior to commencing a farming operation. A licence to keep the animals has to be obtained from the local council who will appoint a veterinarian to inspect the premises and report on their suitability for housing the animals.