Jamie Saves our Bacon Review: How the supermarkets are telling us porkies…

January 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews


Jamie Saves our Bacon, Channel 4, Thursday 29th Jan, 9:00pm Alert Me

Ok so there’s going to be a lot of blather about the fact that Jamie’s back on the campaign trail. It’ll go a little like this: ‘Blah blah, Jamie Oliver back on his high horse, when will he ever get off it… isn’t he annoying, how can he keep finding stuff to fret about?’.

Yes, it’s true. Jamie Oliver has been fretting a lot about a lot of different things. Tonight, he’s fretting about pig farming.

Turns out that it’s pretty brutal, at least in the EU. The pig equivelent of battery farming for chickens is something called a ‘sow stall’. This is basically a cage in which the pig is kept, where it can’t turn or move and where it has to eat and poo in the same place. This kind of farming is illegal in the UK which is great for animal welfare but terrible for pig farmers, as now a huge amount of our pork is being imported from cheap EU sources. This has the double impact of the fact that we often eat pork that has been reared in a terribly cruel way, and it’s destroying the British pork industry.

So this is Jamie’s latest campaign and in tonight’s Jamie Saves our Bacon we watch him reveal, right down to the smallest detail, the life of a farmed pig in a weird half documentary, half live show format.

But you know what, I’m breaking from ranks. I think it’s awesome. Sure, he’s always around, always telling us something we don’t neccessarily want to know but, well, he’s pretty much always right.

Despite the subject he keeps it peppy and optimistic, even when showing the crueler practices of castration and tail docking.  It’s not for the faint hearted though, as it shows some pretty gruesome stuff (from masturbating a pig, no kidding) to the actual killing of a pig.

Still, he makes an important point, particularly about the labelling of pork. In one instance a Tesco package has on the front ‘sourced’ in the UK, and on the back ‘from Danish pork’. If that’s not supermarket trickery then I don’t know what is.

Being Jamie, he cooks up a storm as well; showing us cheap cuts of pork and one particular pork belly recipe with crackling that made my mouth water. Literally. All over the desk. Which is weird after all that i’d just seen of how pigs are farmed.

Highly watchable, with an important point to make, I say put aside the Jamie bashing and take a peek at the life of a pig.

If after watching the show you decide you want to support Jamie’s cause, then go on to his site to find out more.  You can even pledge online to support the campaign ( i did it straight away, go Jamie!). Alternatively go to RSPCA’s site for more info on pig welfare.

By McGee Noble