A Channel 4 documentary documenting life on a dairy farm, Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket, has been criticised for broadcasting a grisly scene in which a ‘knacker man’ shoots three male calves dead.
The graphic clip left little to the imagination, showing the man creep up behind one calf to pull the trigger before it keeled over dead.
Viewers were spared witnessing the deaths of the other two calves as the camera subsequently panned away.
The practice is common in the industry, 90,000 male calves shot dead each year because there is no market for them but transplanting such scenes into the living room proved distressing for many.
Channel 4 received 58 complaints from viewers upset at the footage whilst media regulator Ofcom reportedly received a further ten.
Animal charities, including the RSPCA, had backed the decision to air the footage, claiming that it was important to raise awareness of of how food and drink is produced.
A Channel 4 spokesman said: “We feel it is important to show the reality of this practice to offer viewers a rounded perspective of the issues the programme touches on.
“The programme went out after the watershed, was preceded by a warning and the animals were killed humanely by an expert.”