Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Don't have a cow, man...

Well, if you were planning on writing a drama for Channel 4 that involved plot twists and turns decided by red interactive buttons and viewer phone votes it looks like you're stuffed on two counts, as C4 downscales its ambitious "we'll do 12 dramas a year" plans at the same time as broadcasters start flapping about their premium line services. But I say it matters not, thanks to the new genre of programming that appeared last night - the blood n guts served up on a plate TV that is BBC Three's Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. If anything could send hordes clamouring towards the vegetarian section in supermarkets whilst being the salvation of viewing figures and resultant ad revenue it's this rather graphic journey that takes a cow, slaughters it, chops it up in the abattoir and throws it in front of people like Strictly Come Dancing's Anton du Beke, who harped on in the restaurant/viewing area about the skill of the butchers and abattoir workers as if they were ballerinas whilst looking on the verge of vomiting over the camera. Yes, all participants looked a bit green at the gills as they watched what could become their dinner being prepared in front of their eyes. In fact, most looked like they were in serious shock. Oddly, and I don't know if it was just bravura at play, none of them pledged there and then to give up eating meat, "oh no, I couldn't do that. I like a piece of beef, me," was one woman's view and summed up an entire room of carnivores. Yet if they're all just going to carry on compartmentalising and detaching the meat on the plate from what they've witnessed, the point of this show is what, exactly?
It was grim viewing but also - due to food and hygiene laws mainly - a rather more sanitised and clinical slaughter and chopping up ceremony than you'd imagine. What struck me was how much of a ritual it looked - a blue knife for this, a red knife for that, ooh, look, there's a large intestine to throw in a bucket. And all designed to cause as little distress to the animals as possible, apparently. Eh? Aren't we killing them, then? My favourite part was the interview with a butcher, complaining that the bloody joint he was carving was difficult to deal with because "rigor mortis hasn't set in yet." Shame. Next time my mother passes me a piece of meat I shall pass it back to her.

Listening: The Smiths - Meat is Murder

1 comment:

Stephen Newton said...

I was worked at a business headed up by genuine aristocrat with lots of land and a hereditary seat in the Lords. He claimed only the only meat he ate at home, was meat he’d killed himself. Not something I’d advocate as I’m sure humane slaughter is an acquired skill.