Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

BBC Kills Baby Animals - Complain today!

Please note this is not an active campaign as the series was shown several years ago. However, we hope that lessons have been learnt and the BBC will not 'whitewash' the slaughter process in the future.

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It is supposedly the BBC’s attempt to make the link between animals and the meat on people's plates. However the recent series (like the one broadcast in 2006) was a totally sanitised version of the slaughter process, in a small, family run abattoir and with no comment from animal welfare activists. The new series showed the deaths of baby animals (billy goats, suckling pigs, lambs and veal calves), but the hope that this would be a serious and truthful look at this heinous industry were quickly dismissed by the off-hand, even jokey, manner of the presenters and some glaring factual errors.

As we know, most animals killed in the UK are actually babies and we would welcome a documentary about their factory farming and slaughter. Kill It, Cook It, Eat It is, however, giving people a totally unrealistic view of farmed animals and slaughter in the UK. We think it’s abhorrent that our license fees are being used for what is, effectively, an ad for the meat industry and to pay to kill baby animals.  

Our official complaint to the BBC is at the bottom of this page but please send one yourself using the letter below (or even better write your own):

Dear Mr. Thompson

I was shocked and saddened by the new series of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It.

While I would welcome the public being exposed to the realities of slaughter, the this series of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It (like the first) showed a sanitised and wholly unrealistic version of the slaughter process. 

Undercover footage shot in slaughter house shows animals being stunned for as little as two seconds and regaining consciousness as they bleed to death. Clearly conscious sheep and pigs are shown struggling violently as they hang from shackles on the slaughter line. The series showed at least one piglet being incorrectly stunned (with tongs being placed around the jaws rather than the temples), but this was not mentioned. The attendant vet also stated that the farrowing crate was banned in this country. This is completely untrue (with 70 per cent of British sows crated a week before giving birth and kept confined for up to four weeks afterwards). This is grossly misleading and should have been addressed.

The corporation have said:  "The BBC must operate only in the public interest, ensuring value for money and high quality output”.

I find it impossible to see how Kill It, Cook It, Eat It is truly in the public interest or fulfils your remit as a public service broadcaster.

I strongly object to my license fee being used to fund this staged and sensationalist killing of baby animals and expect better of the BBC. I urge you to include real undercover footage in the series, or to produce another series exploring the realities of slaughter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

xxxxx

You can make a complaint via their website here, call them on 08700 100 222, or write to BBC Complaints, P0 Box 1922, Glasgow G2 3WT.
 

Viva!'s Official Complaint to the BBC

Dear BBC

I am writing to you from the animal welfare organisation Viva!. Once again we were extremely disappointed with the recent series of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. We complained last year when we heard that a second series was going ahead, as we strongly believed that the first series didn't show the whole story, and was basically a whitewash of the slaughter process.

Whilst we welcome images of slaughter on our television - after all, how can people make an informed choice about what they buy unless they see this? - the second series also portrayed a sanitised version of the slaughter process, and did not address any of our criticisms of the first series.

Slaughter can and does go wrong - but at no time was this mentioned. Millions of animals are incorrectly stunned and will go to the knife either fully conscious or may regain consciousness during the slaughter process. It especially concerns us that the footage of the slaughter of suckling pigs clearly shows at least one of the piglets possibly not being stunned properly. The inaccurate placement of the electric tongs is a big problem within the industry. Research has shown that 36 per cent of tong placements do not span the brain as required by law. 13.3 per cent of pigs are stunned on the snout and jaws - a position which is not recommended because animals may fail to lose consciousness - and the footage clearly shows one piglet being stunned only across the jaws. Viva! estimates that in the UK, 125,000 pigs a year will not be stunned at all because of this. It is therefore possible that the law was broken in this instance, but no mention was made of this.

Unbelievably, the so-called expert vet (Peter Jinman) also made reference to the farrowing crate being banned in the UK. This is not the case. 70 per cent of breeding sows in this country are confined in this extremely constrictive system for up to five weeks each time they give birth. The footage from Spain clearly also showed the farrowing crate, which will not be phased out in Europe as the programme stated. We believe that the programme makers have confused the farrowing crate with the sow stall (which is a similar contraption, but is actually the crate that mothering sows are kept in for most of their lives). It was the sow stall that was banned in this country in 1999, and is being phased out in Europe. However, it was a serious mistake to mislead viewers and the show's audience to believe that the farrowing crate was not used in this country and that no pigs are crated.

It was also misleading that no mention was made that the Official Veterinary Surgeon only need witness slaughter once a day, which usually means that the slaughter of most animals will not be witnessed. The audience was given the impression that he or she would see every animal slaughtered, and that is not the case.

If the BBC had been serious about wanting to tackle the very real issues associated with slaughter in a non-biased and fair way they would have invited expert comment from outside the industry. As it was, the series once again came over like an advert for the meat industry.

The introduction to the series by the BBC3 announcer (where she used the terms such as having a "crackling good time" when referring to the suckling pig show) sadly were only too indicative of a series that placed 'entertainment' and shock value above any real meaningful discussion about these very important issues.

Could the BBC please answer my specific concerns and perhaps tell us when they will make a program that looks at the issues raised here that consult both sides of the debate.

Yours faithfully

Justin Kerswell
Viva! Campaigns Manager