The Island with Bear Grylls: Channel 4 accused of killing pigs for entertainment

Latest criticism comes after contestants killed and ate an endangered crocodile

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The Independent Culture

Bear Grylls is facing criticism from animal rights campaigners who have accused him of allowing pigs to be slaughtered for entertainment.

His latest Channel 4 series, The Island, is based on groups of men and women testing their survival skills on desert islands in the Pacific.

The programme has featured footage of participants killing and eating pigs and piglets.

A statement from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims Grylls and the programme’s producers should be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

"Killing animals is a cheap ratings ploy and sends an especially harmful message to young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV. Bear Grylls and the producers should be prosecuted. Fame doesn't mean immunity."

A statement from the RSPCA reads: "The RSPCA opposes practices that cause animals pain, suffering or death in the name of entertainment. It's unacceptable and could easily cause great distress to the animals. There's no excuse for using animals in stunts that carry a high risk of them being harmed."

Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

However, a representative for Channel 4 has defended the programme: “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.

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

Last month the show came under fire after the male participants accidentally killed and ate a rare species of crocodile.

The large reptile is protected under the Endangered Species Act, meaning it is forbidden from being killed, poached or harassed in any way.

“This was a genuine and regrettable error,” a Channel 4 spokesperson said. “Prior to filming, experts were consulted to ascertain species on both islands and the American crocodile was not known to be in the area or on the island.”

It is believed the contestants mistook the crocodile for a common caiman after feeling the effects of a severe lack of food.

The Island with Bear Grylls has come under fire before, when some scenes were revealed to have been set up by producers and four “ordinary” contestants were found to have professional survival experience.