We’d all do anything to survive, wouldn’t we? As a vegan myself, even I, at the brink of starvation, would do what I had to do to live (deep). This would obviously mean hunting and killing an animal, something that most of us would and could never do, apart from in this dire situation.
Thankfully, all people reading this will have been blessed with the luxury of having enough food and can simply log onto ‘Just Eat’ and order a 12′ pizza if ever we are mildly hungry. This lifestyle of hunting and killing in order to stay alive is something we will never have to think about.
However, what about the ‘explorers’ frequently risking their lives to show us exactly what to do should we ever, God forbid, find ourselves seeking shelter in a deserted jungle with no company except the bees and the spider monkeys? Should they be able to demonstrate how to kill, despite not actually being in any danger at all?
Cue ‘Bear Grylls- The Island’. Picture the scene: white sanded beaches and crystal blue sea, along with thick rich jungle. Two tribes of people are mercilessly abandoned on either side of this terrain, forced to create shelter and, above all, find food. Sincerest apologies to go mildly scientific but humans are omnivores; we don’t have to eat meat to survive. All across this supposedly lethal island, berries, roots and fruit lie untouched, only eaten as a last resort when an animal cannot be found. Would you really become picky, in a ‘survival’ situation?
The show reached its crescendo as one of the tribes found an alligator. The next moments left my family and me in utter disbelief as the totally safe and not starving contestants then (brutally) slaughtered the defenceless animal with a spear. A spear. It left us asking the question ‘how is this allowed?’ These people have signed up to be on this programme, probably joining a very long waiting list for a very large paycheque. These people are not starving any more than I am, sat at home eating a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
The show is essentially Big Brother with trees and a beach. Were any of the tribe members actually anywhere near potential starvation or, in fact, unwell in any way at all, they would be air- lifted off the island and nursed back to health with a packet of crisps and a Capri Sun. In another harrowing episode, piglets were actually released into the jungle for the contestants to kill and eat, ending in the tribe members slitting their throats (again, apologies for graphic imagery) and letting them bleed out. Again, how is this allowed? Genuine slaughter of animals is not permitted in films under the Animal Humane Act, that states all films involving supposed harm to creatures must carry the disclaimer ‘no animals were harmed in this production.’ How is the show in question an exception to this?
A Channel 4 spokesman claimed that ‘all contestants were trained in the humane capturing and killing of animals’, something that was extremely unclear to see as the piglet lay suffering. Despite this response, I remain skeptical. Does the fact that these people can kill these animals mean that they should? At the end of the day, this show is for entertainment.
Grylls is not carefully demonstrating how to survive, he is laughing all the way to the bank. These people are not killing to survive, they are clumsily causing suffering to animals (that aren’t even native to the place they are supposedly stranded on) for television ratings. Bear baiting, dog fights and all animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment went out with beheadings and slavery- shame on you, Bear Grylls.
Have you got a different view? Let us know @UCLanPluto or leave a comment below!