Pig farmers are up in arms over a television programme scheduled to be shown by Channel 4 next week which shows animal activists committing criminal acts on farms.
How To Steal Pigs And Influence People is billed as a documentary which follows a “community of vegan and ex-vegan influencers” who go on “farmyard heists” or are devoted to “back-bedroom chicken sanctuaries”.
The National Pig Association (NPA) has written to Channel 4 over fears the programme could be “televising and potentially glamorising acts of criminality, such as the theft of pigs, burglary and the movement of pigs without the necessary licence”.
NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson branded the programme a “disgrace” and said it could encourage others to follow suit.
She said: “This is an extremely irresponsible programme that appears to be promoting and glamorising criminal activity.
“Our members have already suffered enough from the actions of activists that can bring despair to farming families who have done nothing wrong, while also posing health and welfare risks to the pigs.”
Production company Dragonfly confirmed the programme included “incidents in which vegan activists commit illegal acts”. However, the firm’s head of legal Tom Calvert , said the acts are “not glamorised, encouraged or condoned in any way”.
Mr Calvert said: “We believe that the programme gives a fair and balanced view of the ‘Meat the Victims’ event from both sides, as well as presenting a fair reflection of vegan activism in the UK.”
Vehicle manufacturer Mitsubishi is also in the NPA’s firing line due to its association with the programme as part of a sponsorship deal with Channel 4.
Ms Wilson said: “Mitsubishi has customers across the farming industry and we are appealing to it to show some solidarity with the industry and use what leverage it has with Channel 4 to stop the programme being aired.
“We are also asking members to contact their local dealerships directly make their feelings known. There is a real risk that the company’s reputation will be badly damaged by this.”
Mitsubishi said it was investigating the issue, adding its sponsorship package with Channel 4 covered hundreds of documentaries.
The programme follows Channel 4’s documentary Apocalpyse Cow, which claimed farming had to end to save the planet.