Mitsubishi Motors has said it will not be associating itself with the controversial Channel 4 documentary 'How To Steal Pigs' following pressure from UK farm groups.
The National Pig Association (NPA) called on the car manufacturer to act as criticism grows over the programme 'How to Steal Pigs and Influence People', due to be broadcast on Tuesday 14 January.
According to a teaser trailer, the show looks at 'a unique community of vegan and ex-vegan influencers' who go on 'farmyard heists'.
“Some embark on farmyard heists, others are devoted to back-bedroom chicken sanctuaries,” it states.
Now Mitsubishi Motors has sought to distance themselves from the programme as the 'subject matter can cause upset'.
Amanda Gibson, press public relations manager, said: “Mitsubishi Motors in the UK is a proud sponsor of documentaries on Channel 4 but occasionally the subject matter can cause upset.
“We try to remain neutral on emotive topics. However, the upcoming documentary has the potential to cause distress therefore we will not be associating ourselves with this documentary.
Mitsubishi Motors in the UK is a proud sponsor of Documentaries on C4 but occasionally the subject matter can cause upset.— Mitsubishi Motors UK (@MitsubishiUK) January 10, 2020
“How to Steal Pigs and Influence People” has the potential to cause distress therefore we will not be associated with it.
Please see our statement below: pic.twitter.com/MU7uaIWmfn
“Mitsubishi Motors in the UK does not condone criminality or illegal and irresponsible activity in any form.
“We have no contact whatsoever with any of the participants of this documentary and do not support their actions.”
The programme has already prompted a major industry backlash, including multiple comments on social media, with much of the focus turning on Mitsubishi.
NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson has described the programme as a ‘disgrace’.
She has written to Channel 4 expressing concern that it could be ‘televising and potentially glamourising acts of criminality, such as the theft of pigs, burglary and the movement of pigs without the necessary licence’.
She also warned that the footage could encourage others to follow suit.
Ms Wilson said: “This is an extremely irresponsible programme that appears to be promoting and glamourising criminal activity.
“Our members have already suffered enough from the actions of activists that can bring despair to farming families who have done nothing wrong, while also posing health and welfare risks to the pigs – this feels like a further kick in the teeth.”
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “This is an observational documentary on a relevant and topical subject which is widely discussed.
“The programme complies with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and does not condone or encourage criminal activity.”