Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Fury at TV's bear burger

Wildlife photographer accused of gross hypocrisy for hit BBC show

Release date: 
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Animal lovers have reacted angrily to scenes on the hit BBC show 'The Bear Family and Me' which show wildlife photographer Gordon Buchanan eating a burger made of bear meat after saying he had fallen “in love with the animals. Leading animal group Viva! has accused Buchanan of gross hypocrisy and of potentially popularising the eating and hunting of the animal - and even of putting the lives of the animals he was filming at risk. The third and final episode of the series (broadcast on Wednesday, January 5) showed Buchanan visit the home of a bear shooter, where he ate a burger made of bear meat. He said it was “… one of the best burgers he had ever eaten. Prior to this he had described himself as a self-declared “bodyguard for the American black bear. He had become so enamoured by the animals that he introduced his wife and small children to them. Buchanan subsequently introduced the hunter to an adult and bear cub - Lily and Hope - who had built up trust for the photographer. Viva! says that this move could have put the animals in danger, as their location had now been revealed. Viva!'s campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: “It boggles the mind that a man who has discovered that most bears are gentle, inquisitive animals that avoid conflict, and whose programme has won over the hearts of over 2 million viewers, would be so callous as to eat a burger made from their dead flesh. His actions are deeply irresponsible, as they could promote the eating of bear meat in the US and even in the UK, where there is a market for so-called 'exotic meats'. It is even more incredible that he would reveal the whereabouts of two of the series' stars to a bear hunter. At best that was naïve, at worst he just signed potentially their death warrant. ENDS For more information about this press release phone Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email justin@viva.org.uk. The episode in question can be viewed for a limited time at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00x9zhc/The_Bear_Family_and_Me_Aut... (Buchanan eats bear meat at 24.50)