Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the finest web site in the land. I would like to take a few minutes of your time to discuss an issue which is very close to my heart.

Robert Burns (1759-1796)On 25 January each year, Scots around the world (and also the odd one or two in Scotland) celebrate the life of the great poet Rabbie Burns. The way that this day is celebrated is with several bottles of whisky, several half-remembered poems and several helpings of tatties (or potatoes), neeps (or turnip) and haggis (or haggis).

Over the last couple of years, the number of haggis has dwindled to frightening levels. There are various reasons for this, such as the great Haggis Cull of 1971 when 50,000 haggis were slaughtered in a bid to keep the numbers down, people in the Highlands who hunt haggis for a living, despite the fact that it has been illegal for years, and the fact that haggis are just plain stupid and tend to run out onto oncoming traffic.

Please click here for a bigger picture.Most of you probably do not know what a haggis looks like as they are very elusive indeed, so here is a picture of one.

As you can see, two of its legs are longer than the other two. This is a male haggis as the legs on the left hand side are longer than those on the right; the female's right legs are longer than those on the left. You may wonder why this is the case.

Haggis are found mainly in the Highlands of Scotland and can often be seen running around mountains. [There is a school of thought that says that haggis and Nessie are distantly related, but scientists are unable to verify this, despite using the latest DNA techniques.] As mentioned earlier, haggis are extremely thick creatures. As such, they can only run round the mountains one way. If you were to take a haggis and turn it around, it would lose its balance, fall over, be unable to stand up and then die.

In order to procreate, the male and female both run round a mountain, in opposite directions, and when they meet, jump up and do the business.

Hence the term "take a running jump".

Initially, haggis thrived in Scotland due to the wilderness and abundance of heather. When the first motor cars reached the Highlands in the 1930's, they did not pose a threat to the haggis as they, unbelievably, quickly worked out that by sitting in the centre of the lane, no harm could come to them as the car passed directly overhead.

Until, of course, the arrival of the Robin Reliant.

Please click here for a bigger picture.In recent years, the popularity of Rabbie Burns has grown so much that the Burns' Supper season starts in November and finishes in March. This has led to such an increase in demand for haggis that in the late 1970's, the first Haggis Processing Centre was set up in Sutherland. The most recent centre was opened in 1995 at Loch Lomond and can be seen on the left as you travel north on the A82.

Please click here for a bigger picture.Last summer, I was able to visit this centre and take photographs of the facility. The pipes on the right of the picture are situated at the top of the hill. The haggis are bred in farms on the summit and, when they are required, they are rounded up and herded towards these pipes. The force of gravity is then used to throw the haggis down these pipes to the bottom.

Hence the term "haggis hurl".

Please click here for a bigger picture.Here, they are transferred to the squashers, and this is where the haggis are squashed into the correct ovoid shape. From here, they are then sent onwards to the supermarkets and butchers. This process is completely automated and is controlled from a high-tech control room.

This method of farming haggis is extremely barbaric and these poor creatures endure tremendous pain and suffering.

As a consequence, a group called Save Haggis In Trouble has been set up to try to eradicate this barbarism. If you want to read more about this group, then please follow this link which will outline the group's aims. I appreciate that you may not be interested yourself in trying to save haggis, but please help us to spread the word. Only with widespread help will we be able to stop this unnecessary and needless slaughter.

Please remember:

Save Haggis In Trouble

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