Belfast Telegraph

Island star Bear Grylls has talk interrupted by Peta activists protesting against pig and crocodile killings

By Gary Fennelly

A talk by Bear Grylls, at the The Royal Institution in London, has been interrupted by Peta activists accusing the TV adventurer's show 'The Island' of engaging in animal cruelty.

It comes after producers of Grylls' Channel 4 series admitted that they recently shipped a pig to Panama for contestants who then killed and ate it.

Four female contestants were shown sneaking up on a sleeping pig before slitting the animal's throat. The pig could be heard squealing throughout.

On a previous episode, hungry male contestants tracked down and killed an endangered American crocodile, an animal that is protected under the US Endangered Species Act.

Channel 4 said that was a "genuine and regrettable error".

Grylls can be heard in the video saying the animal welfare protester's claims aren't true and that "all the animals killed were indigenous to the island". An activist replies: "The producers admitted it".

Grylls responds: "That's not is not true, that's a newspaper."

Channel 4 has stated on their website that: "In order to ensure that men and women have the resources they need to survive, additional native black pigs were placed on the islands."

The channel said it has received complaints about the show, most of which are understood to relate to the pig and crocodile killings.

Peta director director Mimi Bekhechi said: "There's nothing entertaining or excusable about shipping an animal overseas to slit her throat and eat her body on camera. Peta is calling on Channel 4 to adopt an animal-welfare policy immediately and make sure that no more animals suffer and die for 'entertainment.

A statement added: "As Peta – whose motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to abuse in any way' – has pointed out to Channel 4, had the pig-killing incident taken place in the UK, the contestants could have faced charges and, potentially, time in prison.

"Peta also notes that torturing and killing animals is a cruel way to attempt to boost ratings and sends an especially harmful message to young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV."

Channel 4 has previously defended the scenes, saying they are an important part of the show and contestants were trained in killing animals humanely.

"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,” said the broadcaster.

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

Earlier this year the survivalist caused controversy after saying he "wouldn’t think twice" about eating human flesh.

During an appearance on ITV's This Morning, Grylls was asked if he would ever resort to cannibalism

"Of course," he said. "If it was one of my sons and I, left in the jungle, I'd insist he ate me.

"One of the greatest stories ever is Alive. The people who died insisted they ate them. I wouldn't think twice about it if I had to."

The TV adventurer went on to admit that he has ingested over 100 rattle snakes in his time, he’s also sampled "raw goats' testicles, a camel's intestinal fluids or bear poo... or maybe elephant dung, snakes and scorpions."

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