Tuesday 18 December 2007

Hunting on TV

Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV last night to see a handful of British teenagers hunting wild boar with a pack of dogs and spears - on the BBC no less, and at prime evening viewing time too.

The boar was chased with dogs and brought to bay at the top of a waterfall. Eventually it was goaded over the edge and splashed into the pool below, where one of the intrepid lads stabbed it to death with a sharpened bamboo pole. The proud hunter carried his prize home, where it was roasted and enjoyed by the hunting party and their friends and relatives.

Most surprising of all was the tone of the programme. The teenagers were praised for their enthusiasm and determination. The narrator pointed out that this was healthy, natural food. Nobody asked the animal rights nutters for their opinion.

This is Can Fat Teens Hunt? a programme that takes ten "dangerously overweight" teenagers to live the hunter-gatherer lifestyle with the Iban tribe in Borneo - in the hope they will discover a new respect for food, and for themselves and their own bodies.

I'm torn between hating the crassness of the theme, and loving the idea of the BBC showing hunting in such a positive light. Not long ago, political correctness would have stamped on the very idea of this type of programme. Now it's just a logical extension of "extreme reality" programmes and the growing fad for "getting back to nature" by killing your own food (demonstrated by Jamie Oliver, Wild Gourmets, Roadkill Chef and many more).

In fact, the BBC's obsession with animals being killed to eat is becoming almost morbid, with Kill It, Cook It, Eat It tracing an animal's journey from farm to plate. Along the way "a group of specially invited people, from vegetarians to meat enthusiasts, will witness the slaughter," gloats the press release.

Still, it demonstrates a refreshing honesty about where food comes from, which in my experience is stimulating a new interest in shooting and other aspects of the countryside. Shooters should not just welcome this new trend, we should be jumping on the bandwagon!

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