Justin Vela

Finnish ostriches…

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Helsinki, Finland. Winter 2008.

HELSINKI- Ostriches are big birds.

It goes without saying that one needs to be careful around them. Especially in the winter, say in a country such as Finland, where the freezing weather makes them rather more aware of the fact that they are not in their natural environment and could quite possibly be cranky about it.

Luckily, I’ll have backup. A Finn acting as both my co-pilot, lawyer, and bodyguard will translate my good intentions to these birds, who, I believe, for the most part have been born in Finland and perhaps not quite in touch with their ancestral roots in some African savanna.

The extent of their Finnization is what I will be investigating, along with finding out how exactly an ostrich farm has come to exist in the flats of southern Finland. An ostrich farm is exactly as it sounds. A place where ostriches are raised for their meat, feathers, eggs, and even skin. These parts of the bird are turned into various products. Ostrich feather boas to make-up to meat in speciality shops. The extent of the products that can be made from ostriches makes one wonder why they are not in greater demand. Why do ostriches not rank among chickens, cows, lamb, and pigs as a source of previously living consumption? Is it because they are so fast, wiley even, known for pressing themselves against the ground when they sense danger. It can hardly be that the are dangerous, though they are. Being kicked by an ostrich can be lethal. Yet the birds can only kick forwards. Ostriches are smart creatures, certain smarter than the above mentioned animals, but that can hardly be the explanation for why they have not taken off more as a source of sustenance.

A small number of farms in Finland have attempted to make ostriches more in demand. I will be visiting one of these farms tomorrow and seeing what the ostriches, and the farm’s owners, tell me about this business in Finland.


Written by Justin Vela

January 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Europe

Tagged with , , ,

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