It started with a warning: graphic material ahead. The graphic material? A duck killing.
The British reality television series, Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, takes both vegetarians and meat eaters through the full cycle of nourishment: from the shooting of an animal to the eating of the animal. The show is meant to shock its participants, but also educate them about the hunt for wild game.
The episode started with a chat among the host and the players, each person explaining their meat or non-meat diet and how they think they’ll feel about killing and then eating a duck. One meat eater boasted:
Animals have got to be eaten. We fought our way to the top of the food chain and I like it there. I’m not going back there and living on salad and mung beans.
The vegetarian jumped in:
Just because you like it doesn’t mean you have to do it.
But the parsing back and forth stayed pleasant, something that I’m not sure would have happened on an American-based show. This is also the nicest reality show I’ve even seen: each person could decide what activity they wanted to participate in. There’s no kicking off the island here.
Two vegetarians abstained from the kill portion, opting to not carry a gun and observe only. And one vegetarian was so disturbed about plucking the duck’s feathers off that he coughed and gagged his way out of the room. Those same two vegetarians also ate a salad instead of the duck.
At times scenes were gruesome, as you can see from the video above, with the duck’s bloody intestines being pulled out. But it all came together as an excellent study in meat eating.
Only one meat eater refrained from dining on the duck; he could barely do anything but close his eyes and wish for the animal to disappear off the table. He also predicted he wouldn’t be eating meat any longer. Everyone else stuck to their previous convictions, whether continuing to eat or not eat animals.
As an 85-percent vegetarian, I struggle with killing animals for food, but also understand that humans evolved eating meat. And meat tastes divine. I only stopped eating meat regularly because it started to make me not feel well. Because of the forced diet, I started to learn more about the moral and environment reasons that go along with vegetarianism.
But this show isn’t about converting meat eaters: only showcasing the true journey from the kill to the table. With a subtle approach (and the British accents don’t hurt), it presents a balanced approach to a sensitive topic, highlighting everything from the blood and guts to the deliciousness.