A new TV show will challenge four British families who love meat to adopt an animal to keep as a 'pet' for three weeks before sending it to slaughter if they refuse to stop eating meat by the end of the project.

The channel 4 show states that it will aim to challenge Brits on how much they “really know about the animals they put on their plates”.

In order to do this, the families featured will be asked to share their homes with the animals they’d normally serve up, spending the time getting to know them and learning all about how these animals live.

Having grappled with the impact of their meat-eating habits, should they then decide not to give up their meat eating ways at the end of the experiment, they will also be asked to send their chosen animal to slaughter, before cooking and eating them.

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However, if they decide to become vegetarians, the animal will be taken to an animal sanctuary.

Airing in the New Year, Meat The Family, will also draw on cutting edge studies into animal behaviour and intelligence, as well as examining the farming practices required to meet the demands of hungry consumers and looking at the environmental impact of the meat industry.

Daniela Neumann, managing director at the show’s creators, Spun Gold, said: “In this series we confront some really timely themes of ethical eating in a unique and entertaining fashion. Why do we find it acceptable to eat a lamb but we wouldn’t eat our pet dog?

“Could you go back to meat once you’ve put a name and face to a meal? This is a series that will combine amazing research about animal intelligence with some heart-warming moments.”

Nicola Brown, commissioning editor at Channel 4, added: “From environmental activism to vegan sausage rolls the debate around eating meat and animal welfare is more prominent than ever before.

“Confronting the reality of an animal’s journey from field to plate, Meat the Family will be a life changing and emotional experiment for all involved.”

Speaking about the new show, analyst and founder of the The Wit database, Virginia Mouseler, said the show was set to be “the most transgressive” of the year.

Dominika Piasecka, media and PR officer for the Vegan Society added: “Many people don’t stop to consider the impact their food choices have on others, but eating meat, dairy and eggs affects animals, the planet and our health in a hugely negative way.

“We have a strong feeling that after getting to know what our society views as ‘food’ animals through this series, the viewers will be able to see them for the sensitive, intelligent individuals that they are, so much like the animals we consider as ‘pets’.

“Most people already believe that harming animals is wrong, and we hope the series will inspire them to translate this belief into action by becoming vegan.”

In 2007, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was shown to be visibly upset when two of his own lambs, which he had reared for three months, were slaughtered in front of him for his F-Word TV show.

The move was surprisingly praised by the animal rights group PETA at the time, as it forced many viewers to think about where their meat came from. After the show, they received multiple requests for vegetarian starter packs.

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About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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