Tapping into concerns about the natural world, food production, animal welfare and what we eat, this social experiment sees four meat-eating families welcome the animal they most frequently serve for dinner into their home.
Whether a chicken, sheep, pig or even a cow, they treat the new arrival like a pet – taking it for walks and playing with it in a bid to understand its intellectual and emotional capacity. At the end of three weeks, they are forced to make a choice: go vegetarian and send the animal to a sanctuary, or remain meat eaters and kill their friend.
Juliet Rice, head of prodco Spun Gold (Garden Rescue, Secrets Of The National Trust), says they wanted to make a series about what we eat that didn’t feel dry, worthy and preachy but fun and entertaining.
“The minute we asked ourselves why is it that we would eat a little lamb or pig but not our pet dog, it begged a lot of questions. Do we love our dogs more because we think they are smarter than farm animals? Have personalities? [Because they’re] cuter?”
It was a short step from there to finding out by getting farm animals to move in with families, Rice explains.
The format, she adds, allows the families to investigate a big issue while on an intensely personal journey of their own. “We decided to shoot the series with observational filmmaking at the heart of it ensuring that it never felt like a features show or indeed a journalist-led specialist factual programme.”
The show also allows broadcasters to tackle a topic that usually sits within factual. space.
Meat The Family
Distributor: Red Arrow Studios International
Producers: Spun Gold, Rise Films
Broadcaster: Channel 4 (UK)
Logline: Topical social experiment that explores what happens when a family’s dinner comes to stay