Countryfile’s Tom Heap calls for children to be taken to see abattoirs

Countryfile’s Tom Heap calls for children to be taken on compulsory school trips to abattoirs so they can see where their food comes from

  • BBC presenter Tom Heap said slaughterhouses should be open to the public 
  • They should allow children to visit in groups to learn about food production
  • Heap, 52, even suggested that each stage of food production could be filmed and broadcast online 

Countryfile’s Tom Heap (pictured) said slaughterhouses should be open to the public and allow children to visit in groups

Children should be taken on compulsory school trips to abattoirs so they can see where their food comes from, Countryfile’s Tom Heap said.

The BBC presenter said slaughterhouses should be open to the public and allow children to visit in groups.

Heap, 52, even suggested that each stage of food production could be filmed and broadcast online.

Writing in the Radio Times, he said: ‘I honestly believe that slaughterhouses, intensive chicken barns or crowded pig pens should be open to the public eye. Schools should be encouraged to visit as part of the curriculum.

‘The public cares about the welfare of the animal and the health of the environment behind the food on their plate.’

The presenter admitted that while farmers are ‘nervous’ about filming, it is important they show how animals are treated. 

He also claimed ‘ferocious tribalism’ from environmental groups is contributing to unjustified suspicion of farming methods.


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He added: ‘Much of the farming industry is nervous about letting the cameras in … for me, secrecy breeds malpractice inside and, frequently unjustified, suspicion on the outside. 

‘It’s very easy for campaign groups to fill in the void with their own version of how animals are treated.’

He said children should be taken on compulsory school trips to abattoirs so they can see where their food comes from. Stock photo

Heap, a fixture on Countryfile for 14 years, said the rural affairs series should not be afraid to broach sensitive issues such as animal cruelty – despite its family audience and early Sunday evening timeslot.

He also defended the show after it received complaints from viewers in April over a report he filmed on animal activism. 

The section included graphic footage of farm animals in cramped conditions which was broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

Heap said: ‘Countryfile – like the countryside – is not a ‘safe space’ and we shouldn’t hide or gloss any uncomfortable truths.’

 

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