Another follow-up on the BBC3 programme that slaughtered and then cooked animals live on TV.
(If you are reading this outside of the UK – yes this is what the Beeb constitutes as “entertainment” here.)
Liz O’Neill, who is the Head of Communications at the Vegetarian Society, was invited by the BBC to take part in the filming of the programme. Here are her thoughts on the whole thing:
“As you may know, I took part in the filming of BBC3’s “Kill it Cook it Eat it”, specifically the episode broadcast last night (Weds 7th), entitled Pork. We were approached by the producers last year and discussed the idea of taking part quite carefully before agreeing. We also made extensive checks to ensure that the programme would not cause any additional suffering or death to a single animal and were satisfied that, while the slaughter house chosen was not typical of those providing most of the UK’s meat, the programme would be observing business as usual for that particular establishment.
Having also watched the first three programmes on television one of the most important things I think I need to share with you is that I found the sight of the slaughters much more distressing on television than in person. That will sound strange, but the power of close-ups, editing and a clear view cannot be under-estimated. On the day of filming, I had to jostle for position with other participants and viewed the live slaughter from a distance of several metres, at a sidelong angle. I felt it was very important to see exactly what happened and still found it difficult to gain a clear view and many participants saw significantly less than me. Also, we had no direct contact with the animals before slaughter so had no opportunity to engage with them as individual living, breathing, feeling creatures.
The programme overall has been disappointing, with the Meat Hygiene Service vet allowed to go unchallenged on her assertions about good practice in all UK abattoirs. The rather smug sense that buying “good quality” meat will make everything okay was also very difficult to take
and was challenged by both myself and other participants during studio debate. Sadly not much of the discussion made it into the final edit.
Perhaps the most significant lesson for me, as someone whose job involves communicating with others about vegetarianism, was how easy it was to dissociate the meat being cooked and served from the animal that died to create it. Knowing the facts, even experiencing the horror, is not enough in itself. For people to change their behaviour they need to make a conscious connection not just once, but every day. The experience has already made a subtle difference in the way I talk about vegetarianism and I hope that it will have an impact on our future
campaigns and press work so perhaps it’s was not an entirely fruitless exercise.”
I noted in both my previous posts that the BBC3 website has a form where you can send them your views, but still to date, again as I mentioned, nothing has been published on the website. As well as that there is still a lack of any links to any vegetarian sections on the BBC or to any other veggie websites, just ones that discuss the eating and storing of meat.
I ask again – Why did the BBC put a Have Your Say form on the website if they are not going to publish any messages ?
Plus – Why did the BBC not let Liz and others to have any amount of time to discuss the issues with animal slaughter and vegetarianism ?