I’ve never been much of a fan of cooking shows. The chefs talk, they cook, they even sometimes teach poor food safety. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has taken the typical format of a cooking show and added an extra twist; audience members witness the killing of the chicken used in the meal. Animal rights groups and poultry farmers are outraged over his new television show “Jamie’s Fowl Dinners.”
The show serves up a giant dose of shock and awe as chicks are gassed to death and an adult chicken is killed for the meal. Yet throughout the show Oliver insists that he is trying to raise awareness about how chickens are treated in the poultry industry.
"I don’t think it’s sensational to show people the reality of how chickens live and die at the moment. It may be upsetting for some people but that’s how things are. And if seeing some of the practices helps to change the shopping habits of just 5 per cent of people watching, then it will be worth it.”
Channel 4 factual entertainment boss Andrew Mackenzie said: "Jamie’s simple message, in quite an overt way, will be: ‘If you know what happens to a chicken before arriving on your plate, would you change the way you think about chicken? Would you still eat it?’"
Oliver had criticized Sainbury’s supermarket over its involvement on his show and has since apologized for it. It appears that his main goal to is encourage people to purchase free-range and organic chicken raised in less intensive facilities. However I found that most of the program depicting the slaughter of chickens seems to push people towards vegetarianism rather than purchasing their chickens from another source. You be the judge.