The BBC have confirmed that next weeks edition of Countryfile will come from an unlicensed abattoir in mid Devon. The producer of the show has said it is an opportunity to highlight the other side of life in the Shires, and to get a glimpse behind those dry-brick walls.
Critics have long argued that Countryfile only offers viewers a sanitised, rose-tinted version of country life. But programme runners say the hard-hitting two hour special will pull no punches and promises to lift the lid on what really takes place behind closed doors at an off-grid UK slaughterhouse.
Viewers will get a chance to see Countryfile presenters up to their elbows in offal and intestines, skinning sheep, electrocuting chickens and wrestling with barely stunned animals as they desperately cling on to life. Presenter Matt Baker is filmed taking a chainsaw to a recently slaughtered pig, while Anita Rani will be seen passing an electric current through the head of a 35 week old lamb.
See what happens in an hilarious sequence when Anita tried to cut the little lamb’s throat only to find the poor creature wasn’t actually dead. ‘Yes…that Anita…what is she like’, explained one of the abbatoir workers. ‘We did explain that in order to kill the lamb she needed to cut both carotid arteries and let the thing bleed out for at least 20 seconds, otherwise it just ends up getting skinned alive. It’s hilarious watching poor Anita getting showered in sheep blood while she struggles to put it out of its misery…..pure slapstick.’
Veteran presenter John Craven is then seen immersing chickens in an electrified water bath before passing them through an automatic neck cutter. ‘It took a while before we found a live chicken to electrocute’, quipped John. Most of them were already dead on arrival. Those that hadn’t had their heads crushed in the transporter had died from heart failure, but we found one in the end’.
Follow the life cycle of Buttercup, a happy three year old Hereford as she makes the journey from green pasture to butchers hook, from free roaming animal to pallid, grey stewing steak in a supermarket chiller. Watch Tom Heap scrape shredded meat from the abattoir wall, and see him feed lips and ears through a mincer to make dog food and cat food and own-brand supermarket burgers. And watch Helen Skelton struggle with her ear-defenders as she tries to block out the sound of screaming, panic stricken sheep as they realise what’s about to happen.
‘Viewers have often asked what happens when the cameras stop rolling, the film crews pack all their stuff away and the shows presenters are all tucked up in bed.’, said producer Jason Beesley. ‘Well….this is what happens. Happy now?
The following week, why not join Matt and the rest of the Countryfile team in Monaco as they watch a billionaire land owner blow his entire annual EU subsidy on a single turn of the roulette wheel.