A CONTROVERSIAL BBC television programme which said people may be harmed by drugs used on farm animals, has been attacked as a “nightmare” experience and “trial by television of the worst sort” by two farm industry panellists who took part in it. The programme, shown on May 8, was the first in a new BBC2, “Brass Tacks” series. It included a 30-minute film showing intensive farms and
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SIR – I have just taken part in a nightmare. Not one of the usual kind from which one wakes to the comforting reassurance of familiar objects, but under the glaring lights of a television studio as a so-called panellist in the first of the new BBC-2 series, “Brass Tacks”.
HUNDREDS of farmers sprang to the defence of the agricultural industry on radio phone-ins around the country after the BBC’s controversial television report on pig and poultry farming, says the National Farmer’s Union. The programme debated the use of drugs and intensive farming methods and the possible harmful effects they could have. Farmers were enraged by the cover of the Radio Times showing a pig with a health warning of the type used on cigarette packets
Frank Metcalfe’s VIEWPOINT
Without doubt, “Brass Tacks” (BBC-2) is one of the most exhilarating studies of human emotions on any of the three channels. Especially when it turns its visual and verbal spotlight on animals reared on the “battery” system. The return of this explosive series slammed straight into contrasts between humans and living meat products. How humans subjected to similar conditions in intensive farming husbandry would soon be the victims of disease epidemics. Experts stressed an odd combination whereby to maintain health stocks, the animals or poultry had to be treated with antibiotics. Which also makes them disease resistant
by ROBIN STRINGER
THAT punchy, percussive introductory music is a give-away. Another trial by television is under way. This time it was in the form of Brass Tacks, BBC-2’s new series designed to give the public a chance to have its says by providing subsequent phone-in programmes on local radio stations all over the country. The first subject for dissection on Tuesday night was British intensive-farming methods which provide relatively cheap food at some risk to our health. The image presented in the opening film, which amounted to the case for the prosecution, were horrendous
LANCASHIRE branch of the NFU have sent a resolution to headquarters deploring the BBC’s handling of its “Brass Tacks” programme on Tuesday evening which members alleged was deliberately contrived to stimulate all the emotive arguments over current farming methods. Said Mr Chris Halhead, during Wednesday’s executive meeting: “I am sick of trying to produce food for people who are constantly trying to pull the rug out from under us
GILBERT HARDING was not only the first TV man, he was the first two-way TV man. A friend remembers him “watching and arguing with the television.” He would carry on these one-way discussions with whomever it was he happened to be watching and get quite violent about it. I remember him having a set-to like that with Cliff Michelmore and then, when the programme was finished, he phoned up Michelmore and continued the argument in person. People have always talked to television; it is just that television has not always listened. It Shouldn’t Happen to a Pig, the first Brass Tacks programme, was not so much an eye-opener as a stomach turner
8.10-9.0 New Series
It Shouldn’t Happen To a Pig
Diseases spread quickly in factory farms unless antibiotics are used to keep them at bay. And those diseases increasingly develop antibiotic resistance that can spill over into the human population. So is it time to call a halt? Is it time to chose between cheap meat and safe meat?
AT last, democracy is coming to television. Tonight, you, the viewers, can pick up your phone or put pen to paper and have a chance to air your opinions. The revolutionary experiment is the brainchild of the Manchester-based “Brass Tacks” team. After tonight’s programme in the new “Brass Tacks” series called “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Pig” (BBC-2, 8.10 p.m.) viewers will be invited to give their views, either by phoning any local BBC radio station or by writing to the producers