Tag Archives: Science & Technology

Animal production and public health: TV programme looks at “risks”

The Veterinary Record, Vol 104 No 20
May 19, 1979

News

More than 20 veterinary surgeons took part in radio ‘phone-in programmes throughout the country after the screening of BBC’s controversial programme Brass Tacks on May 8. The programme looked at modern intensive methods of animal production and the potential risk to public health.

The programme asked whether it was time to tighten the rules on use of antibiotics even more than the regulations made following the Swann report 10 years ago which had shown that drugs were being misused by some sections of the industry. It asked, too, whether farming should take a different direction and move towards “organic” methods, which were less reliant on the routine use of drugs and chemicals.

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Down to Brass Tacks

The Veterinary Record
Vol 104 No 20, May 19, 1979

Comment

There is always a danger in producing what is considered to be “good television”, particularly on a scientific subject, that some of the more mundane yet pertinent facts will be ignored. That was the case in the BBC2 programme Brass Tacks, broadcast on May 8.

The programme looked at modern methods of intensive animal husbandry and the potential risk to the public health from antibiotics and other medicinal substances (see below). But as was inevitable given the type of presentation, a number of issues were raised that were not satisfactorily answered.

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Trial by television puts chicken on the salmonella rack

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Pig, BBC 2
Poultry World, 17 May 1979

VIEWERS must have been left confused after last week’s BBC television programme on drugs in animal husbandry and organic versus intensive farming.

The experts, aided by filmed shots of processing plants and abattoirs, told them that poultry was involved in 6,000 of the 11,000 cases of notified food poisoning in a year. Salmonella and the use of drugs was put over as a health risk in the film and pre-publicity that has brought industry protests of bias.

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The BBC should be thoroughly ashamed

by Chris Dunkley
Financial Times, 16 May 1979

Brass Tacks has returned with an interesting innovation in public access which combines national television and local radio, but offers as raw material only the same irresponsibly sensational nonsense which we grew to distrust in its previous series.

The BBC should be thoroughly ashamed of the journalism on this programme, and we shall have to keep a very close eye on it.

Chris Dunkley, Financial Times, 16 May 1979

Howl of rage over BBC programme

London Evening Standard, 15 May 1979

A HOWL of rage has gone up among British farmers over BBC TV’s Brass Tacks film on their industry.

“I have just taken part in a nightmare,” wails British Farm Produce Council chairman Charles Jarvis in a letter to the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Jarvis says he and colleagues in “modern meat production” were “set up” by the BBC.

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Panel protest over farm drugs show

By DAVID BROWN
Agricultural Correspondent
Sunday Telegraph, 13 May 1979

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 slaughter-house scenes, followed by a studio debate on alternative “organic” farming.

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NIGHTMARE IN A TV STUDIO

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Daily Telegraph, 12 May 1979

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”.

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Anger over TV show

Farmer’s Weekly, 11 May 1979

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, shown on BBC2, 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 which advertised the programme. It showed a pig and carried a mock health warning of the type used on cigarette packets.

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Without doubt, Brass Tacks is one of the most exhilarating studies of human emotions on any of the three channels

Frank Metcalfe’s VIEWPOINT
Yorkshire Evening Post, 10 May 1979

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.

Even to the example of pigs suffering nervous breakdowns due to their style of living and having to be treated with tranquillisers.

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Intensive farming images upsetting

by ROBIN STRINGER
Daily Telegraph, 10 May 1979

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 on controversial matters by providing subsequent phone-in programmes on local radio stations all over the country.

But first you must have a controversy. The case against has to be made.

The first subject for dissection on Tuesday night was British intensive-farming methods which provide relatively cheap food at some risk to our health. Needless to say, our farmers did not emerge from the fray with reputations enhanced. They were judged bottom of the European league of hygiene for a start.

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