Hundreds of people complain over C4's 'How to Steal Pigs'

The Channel 4 programme followed activists as they trespassed onto farms and stole pigs
The Channel 4 programme followed activists as they trespassed onto farms and stole pigs

More than 370 people have complained to Ofcom over Channel 4's recent programme 'How to Steal Pigs and Influence People'.

The media watchdog, who says the controversial programme is still under investigation, has received hundreds of complaints.

The National Pig Association (NPA) submitted a formal complaint last week, saying Channel 4 could be considered complicit in the theft of pigs.

The programme, which aired on 14 January, followed activists as they trespassed onto farms and stole pigs.



In the NPA’s complaint to Ofcom, policy services officer Lizzie Wilson said she found it ‘astonishing’ that the programme showed activist Wesley Omar stealing five pigs on separate occasions.

The pig industry group said Channel 4 had ‘acted incredibly irresponsibly and should therefore be held accountable’



“In our opinion Channel 4 could be considered complicit in the theft of those pigs; they accompanied Wesley Omar to film his illegal activity, instead of alerting police,” she wrote.

The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) asked Ofcom to look into whether the programme breached guidelines by broadcasting material ‘likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder’.

In her letter to Ofcom, NRCN chair Julia Mulligan said: “The NPA and the four UK farming unions, including the NFU – who are NRCN members – are among those who expressed their worries to Channel 4 ahead of broadcast that the programme glamorised and condoned crime and violence in rural areas.

“The broadcaster insisted ‘the programme did not glamorise or condone illegal activity’.

“We do not agree. We believe the programme itself, and particularly the title and promotion ahead of broadcast, explicitly glamorises illegal activity and, therefore, we would be grateful if Ofcom would consider whether it has breached Rule 3.1 of the Broadcasting Code.

“We understand that broadcasters often give titles to programmes which are intended to create debate, but we believe this goes beyond that.”

The four UK farming unions issued a statement expressing ‘deep concern’ about the programme and highlighting the ‘dreadful impact these attacks have on the health and wellbeing of those farmers targeted’.