Opinion: ‘Meat the family’ Fails to Meet Reality | Viva! - The Vegan Charity
Opinion: ‘Meat the Family’ Fails to Meet Reality

Channel 4 has announced a disturbing new reality TV show where families must decide whether to eat the animal they’ve adopted.

In a bid to confront “the reality of an animal’s journey from field to plate,” Channel 4 is asking meat-eaters to adopt an animal for three weeks before deciding whether the animal will be killed, cooked and eaten by the family, or sent to an animal sanctuary.

The show claims it is addressing one of the most pressing issues in society, eating meat, but given they allow the animal to die and be eaten at the end, it seems nothing more than using an animal’s life to attract viewers.

Imagine a reality TV show based on whether someone could kill and eat their adopted dog or cat. This would be labelled as sick animal abuse and banned from our screens, yet when it is a sheep, cow or pig it is simply weekday entertainment.

Not to mention this show gives a totally false image of animal farming in the UK and beyond. Two-thirds of farmed animals are raised in factory farming, never seeing the outdoors or receiving any kind of love from a human or each other. This show maintains the idyllic image of cows frolicking in fields we see on Red Tractor adverts and fails to mention that most farmed animals only come in contact with humans when it’s time for breeding or slaughter.

There is something to be said for showing people how unique and individual every animal is, even the species we all too often see as nothing but food, and programmes like this might allow people to join the dots between their loving family companion animal and those they choose to eat for dinner.

But if Channel 4 is truly interested in “the reality of an animal’s journey from field to plate”, they would surely be conducting investigations of animal farms in the UK, where animals are routinely forced to live in filthy squalor until their time for slaughter comes. Asking a family to look after a sentient being with the same capacity to love and feel pain as their cat or dog is clearly a far cry from the reality of animal farming in the UK.

Not only this, but we are in the midst of an environmental emergency. Animal agriculture is causing more greenhouse gas emissions than all the transport on earth combined, yet for some reason, Channel 4 has decided to broadcast animal cruelty to discuss the topic. It’s hard to see how this show appropriately addresses the crisis caused by animal agriculture, despite claiming it is tackling this societal issue.

The message is clear: we must all go Vegan Now to prevent environmental and societal collapse. 

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