Mitsubishi Motors in the United Kingdom (UK) is distancing itself from a documentary, “How to Steal Pigs and Influence People,” that is scheduled to air on Channel 4 in the UK on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Mitsubishi advertisements regularly appear on the program because it sponsors Channel 4 documentaries. However, the company changed its mind about supporting this one after a backlash of farmers shared their concerns, a Farmers Weekly article said.
The National Pig Association (NPA) reached out to Channel 4 to express serious concerns about this program, which appears to condone and glamorize the theft of pigs.
The documentary trailer says the show looks at “a unique community of vegan and ex-vegan influencers. Some embark on farmyard heists, others are devoted to back-bedroom chicken sanctuaries.”
In a letter to the broadcaster, NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson highlighted how the British pig industry and its farming families have been consistently targeted by animal rights activists, an NPA release said. This activity has been increasing over the past two years, with activists openly trespassing on farms.
“In some instances, they ‘liberate’ the pigs they find, which is of course a criminal act of theft. Furthermore, our members have been subjected to three ‘Meat the Victims’ protests, where large groups of protesters descend on and occupy a pig farm for up to 9 hours, harassing the farmer and their staff and distressing the animals in their care,” Wilson said in the release.
NPA is concerned the program will incite criminal activity.
Wilson also highlighted how the program could encourage the spread of highly transmissible and deadly diseases of pigs such as African swine fever (ASF). Although this disease is not harmful to humans, it is wreaking havoc on the global pork industry because there is currently no cure for the disease.
Channel 4 responds
Tom Calvert, head of legal at the production company, Dragonfly, responded, saying these acts are not glamourized, encouraged or condoned in any way.
He said the program 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.
In addition, he said the program is compliant with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and all relevant laws and regulations, the release said.
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