Bear Grylls in Hot Water Over His TV Series ‘The Island With Bear Grylls’

Bear Grylls talking about 'The Island.' (Screenshot/YouTube)
Bear Grylls talking about 'The Island.' (Screenshot/YouTube)

Bear Grylls and his show The Island with Bear Grylls has come under fire after contestants slashed a pig’s throat on air. Animal welfare groups claim Channel 4 is “killing animals to boost ratings.”

Bear Grylls’ reality show has attracted nearly 500 complaints from viewers so far. Animal welfare groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said Channel 4 had shown a “callous disregard for life” on the show.

Bear Grylls talks about ‘The Island’:

The pig was heard squealing throughout the killing. In a previous episode, male contestants killed and ate a crocodile, only realizing later that it was an endangered species.

Channel 4 has said it has received around 450 complaints about the show, and a large number of them are understood to relate to the pig and crocodile killings, wrote The Guardian.

The making of ‘The Island’:

Media regulator Ofcom said on its webpage that it had received 16 complaints about the show and was considering whether to launch an investigation.

PETA director Mimi Bekhechi said: “There is simply no excuse for this kind of callous disregard for life. TV producers and broadcasters can entertain audiences without resorting to cruelty to animals.”

In the letter to Channel 4’s CEO David Abraham, signed by PETA, Animal Aid, OneKind, and Viva!, the groups said they were “outraged to see that contestants were filmed slashing the throat of a terrified pig.”

“Had this taken place in the U.K., the contestants could face charges and, potentially, time in prison. The producers revealed that the pigs had been shipped to the uninhabited Pearl Islands for the show, expressly so that they could be killed and eaten by contestants.

“Torturing and killing animals is a cruel way to attempt to boost ratings, and sends an especially harmful message to your young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV. It is this kind of outright disregard for animals that keeps caseworkers inundated with cruelty-to-animals reports year-round.

“We strongly urge you, as chief executive of Channel 4, to ensure that this kind of violence is never aired again by implementing a proper animal-welfare policy. We stand ready to meet with you about this important issue.”

Psychologist Howard Fine on the personality types present in the group and how these will affect life on the island:

Channel 4 has defended the scenes, saying that it is an important part of the show; it’s about finding out if the contestants were capable of “hunting and killing for meat,” and that they have all been trained in the humane killing of animals.

“An important part of the experiment was to find out if the men and women were capable of surviving alone and able to find sources of food, including hunting and killing for meat, a vital part of their survival as it is a source of valuable calories and protein,” the broadcaster wrote.

“All islanders were trained in the humane capture and dispatch of live animals, and the animals were killed humanely.”

Which leaves us with just one question:

Is it OK to kill animals for TV ratings?

For me, I don’t believe so, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, but in saying that, I’m also sure there are a lot of people that are OK with it.

What perhaps everyone needs to face in this discussion is that every piece of meat they buy at the supermarket and eat was once an animal that was raised, treated, and killed in a far less humane way than what is shown on the show. It’s just that this is in your face, while that isn’t.

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