The BBC plumbs the depths

The vegetarian campaigning group Viva! is urging its supporters to contact
the BBC to complain about their decision to feature foie-gras extensively in
the series The Great British Menu.  As many readers will know, foie gras is
made from the fatty livers of ducks and geese that are force fed copious
quantities of food through a metal tube inserted into the throat.
Production of this so-called delicacy is banned in the UK as it would
contravene animal cruelty laws, but, unfortunately, importing and consuming
foie gras is permitted.  So, although there is nothing “British”, and
certainly nothing meritorious, about foie gras, the British Broadcasting
Corporation considers it to be a suitable ingredient for a series calling
itself The Great British Menu.  The BBC’s justification for this is that
“many do enjoy it”.  Never mind the cruelty involved, then!

They continue, “as long as foie gras remains legal and freely available it
remains a possibility of being included on cookery shows – just as it
remains on restaurant menus around the world.  The Great British Menu sees
some of Britain’s best chefs competing to cook a course at the Olympic
Banquet.  The editorial reasoning behind using a range of ingredients is
that not doing so would represent a very narrow view of what is British food
and cooking and ultimately what British people eat.”  Well, I don’t know
about you, but with the exception of my local Tory MP, I don’t know any
British people who would sink so low as to eat foie gras, even of they could
afford to buy it.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at the BBC’s attitude.  After all, they
have brought us the obscenity of “Kill It, Cook It, Eat It” in
recent years, so it seems that anything goes these days.  As one commentator
put it, perhaps the BBC are planning to entertain their viewers with film of
chefs cooking dog meat in China.

There was a time when the BBC was prepared to show the cruelty that lies
behind much of the animal farming industry.  For example, back in 1979 the
BBC screened a powerful documentary about factory farming which must have
caused many viewers to question their eating habits and even to stop eating
meat.  I should know – I was one of them.

Paul Appleby


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