A new British reality television show will make people think twice about the food on their plates. “Meat the Family” looks at the ethics of eating meat by forcing families to choose between eating their pets or becoming vegetarian.
The show is described as a “social experiment.” It will recruit four meat-eating families and give each a farm animal — a chicken, calf, lamb, or pig — as a pet. The families must care for the animal as they would a dog or cat.
“They treat the new arrival like a beloved pet – taking it for walks and playing with it – in a bid to understand its intellectual and emotional capacity, and to see if living with it makes it less palatable to eat!” the show’s description reads.
The families will travel the globe to learn about animal agriculture, including how meat is processed. They will also be educated about the impact of eating meat on animal welfare, the planet, and their health.
After three weeks, the families must make a decision: “go vegetarian forever and send the animal to a sanctuary, or remain meat-eaters and kill their new best friend.”
‘Meat Is Becoming the Next Taboo’
The show’s production company Spun Gold TV posted the casting call earlier this year. The ad requested “warm, opinionated families who will share their homes with an animal they would normally eat.” The casting call did not disclose that the participants would be asked to cook and eat the animal.
Television and media analyst Virginia Mouseler spoke to the Daily Mail about the premise. “It is not sex or drugs anymore. Meat is becoming the next taboo,” she said. “The question they are asking is how can you cuddle your dog while you are putting another animal in the oven?”
Daniela Neumann, Managing Director at Spun Gold, said “Meat the Family” explores “ethical eating.”
Neumann said, “Why do we find it acceptable to eat a lamb but we wouldn’t eat our pet dog? Could you go back to meat once you’ve put a name and face to a meal? This is a series that will combine amazing research about animal intelligence with some heart-warming moments.”
Another British television series looks at the ethics of eating animals. “Travel With a Goat” sees meat-eaters traveling through South America, Asia, and Europe with an animal companion. At the end of the journey, participants must decide whether or not to allow the animal to be killed for food.
“Meat the Family” will air in three parts on Channel 4.