|By JULIETTE ROSSANT |
While most American chefs shy away from confronting animal rights groups over their attempts to ban foie gras, British Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver has taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, by slaughtering a lamb on his TV show, Jamie's Great Escape. Said the straightforward Jamie: "A chef who's cooked 2,000 sheep should kill at least one; otherwise you're a fake." Then he helped skin and cook it.
Some British animal rights groups like Compassion in World Farming objected because the lamb was not stunned first. Others like Animal Aid said stunning makes no real difference in the suffering of the animal.
Jamie's response? "It's a beautiful creature but it is tasty and we are the top of the food chain."
Channel 4 went out of its way to warn viewers of the upcoming scene. Nevertheless, "The programme reflected the way many animals in Italy are reared and butchered and aimed to make the audience think about how their own food is sourced," the TV channel told the UK's Mirror newspaper.
This is a good point -- especially if in this country we support Alice Water's Edible School Yard and similar programs that aim to teach children where their food comes from and respect for what they eat. In that view, Jamie's on-camera carnage is precisely the kind of accurate reportage we need for our children.
All that said, Jamie did find the whole experience difficult, telling the show's audience beforehand:
I do not know if I can do it, man. They want me to kill a lamb. I have never done that before.From the home page of his TV show, it seems that Jamie not only got over it (if, as a chef he ever had qualms about slaughtering an animial) and even came up with a grisly poke at himself (see image, below.)
Silencing that lamb should not hurt Jamie's image too much, especially after championing the improvement of British school lunches (see previous article).
Daily Mail (UK)
Brand Republic (UK)
Evening Standard (UK)
Independent (South Africa)
New York Times
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