Animal Rights Activists Condemn “Food Diary” In Statement + Production Staff Responds

tvN’s new variety show “Food Diary” was met with strong criticism from animal rights activists.

On June 1, organizations for animal rights released an official statement arguing that the production of “Food Diary” should be immediately stopped. They asserted that it is unethical to make use of live animals for the sake of entertainment and said the show promoted the false fantasy about the conditions animals are usually raised in.

The following is the animal rights activist group’s full statement:

“On May 30 (Wednesday), tvN’s new variety show ‘Food Diary: Spicy Braised Chicken’ (hereafter ‘Food Diary’), which they say is differentiated from ordinary hands-on experience shows, premiered.

“For the unjust reason of showing the process of making spicy braised chicken, chicks larger in number than even the cast members were born and three dogs were mobilized to be used as ornaments in the farm from the first episode.

“Thus, we the animal rights groups strongly criticize the production staff’s intention to raise and kill the chicken, the ingredient of the spicy braised chicken, and we ask tvN to immediately put an end to ‘Food Diary.’

“The production crew said that the purpose of ‘Food Diary’ was to understand firsthand through what efforts and process the food we eat goes up to the table. However, this is impossible to attain with spicy braised chicken that’s made from chickens raised in factory farms.

“Chickens currently consumed in Korea are kept in tight density in chicken coops without ventilation. They are altered to grow at a rapid rate and are slaughtered within a month after birth.

“If they do not show the full life of a chicken that’s dominated by the concept of maximum profit from birth to slaughter, the trouble of raising a chicken shown on ‘Food Diary’ is a mere fantasy of rural life and going off the grid.

“If the producers are intentionally distorting the real production process of chicken meat and falsely promoting with the slogan ‘Extreme Real Life’ in spite of this, it is a mockery against animal rights activists and viewers.

“‘Food Diary’ is biased from the beginning as they define chickens not as animals with perception, but as ‘food’ and ‘ingredients.’

“The production staff makes the cast try the spicy braised chicken from the start and urges people throughout the episode to view chickens as ingredients rather than pets one can relate to.

“In addition, the question of ‘Can we eat the chicken that we raised ourselves?’ that the crew acts out through the discussions among scholars is finally concluded with a unilateral idea that chickens are, in the end, inevitably an ingredient for food.

“The general recognition of animals we face as abstract ‘flesh’ and ‘meat’ in unrecognizable forms are ‘food ingredients’ is already prevalent in this discriminatory society. There is no need to find this out on a television variety show with several live chickens.

“‘Food Diary,’ which uses live animals as an entertaining element to become a distinct variety show which is ‘different from preexisting hands-on experience shows,’ is unethical and outdated.

“tvN has especially been employing live animals as an essential attraction in other variety shows as well. Accordingly, we have no choice to but to think that tvN’s approval of the production of ‘Food Diary’ is their attempt to maximize their ‘animal marketing’ to overcome their lagging viewership ratings in the first half of the year.

“For instance, the dog that appeared on tvN’s popular variety show ‘Three Meals a Day’ became a social controversy when it was abandoned after the show came to an end. It also encouraged the production of a specific dog breed.

“It is behind the times for tvN to consistently use animals as a means of raising viewership ratings and making money when it is a global trend to not employ live animals for entertainment, experience, and media.

“tvN and the production staff of ‘Food Diary’ must immediately stop or completely revise the show that abuses chickens as food ingredients and a form of entertainment as well as distorts the reality of factory farms.

“It is also our hope that this opportunity will lead tvN to play a leading role in establishing the awareness of animal rights in Korean broadcasting industry by declaring not to produce shows using live animals.”

On the same day, the production team of “Food Diary” responded to the animal activists’ statement. “First of all, we’re grateful for various opinions people have shown about ‘Food Diary’,” they began.

“‘Food Diary’ is a show that intends to highlight the importance of the food ingredients we consume daily,” they continued. “For this purpose, we chose spicy braised chicken, one of the most common and popular foods Koreans usually enjoy. We aim to deliver the process of how the ingredients in that dish come to the table. We’re actually devoting much effort and care into cultivating crops such as potatoes, onions, and carrots.”

The production staff concluded, “We ask you to watch the upcoming episodes as only the first episode has aired.”

“Food Diary” airs every Wednesday night at 11 p.m. KST.

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