The UK’s broadcasting authority, Ofcom, has received over 350 complaints for a documentary on Channel 4 titled ‘How to Steal Pigs and Influence People’.

The documentary aired on January 14, and followed a number of activists entering private farms and stealing pigs, under the pretense of animal welfare.

According to the UK’s National Pig Association, some 370 complaints had been received by Ofcom. The association added that the show was still under investigation by the broadcast regulator.

The documentary drew the ire of farmer organisations both in the UK and in Ireland.

Farm organisations in the UK called for the makers of the documentary to pass on information relating to “illegal activities” in the show to the police.

At the same time, in Ireland, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said the programme “glamourises criminal activity”.

Edmond Phelan, the association’s president, said the documentary “incites animal extremists to invade farms and steal pigs apparently on the basis that this would be good for the pigs’ welfare”.

This is grossly irresponsible and can be seen as an incitement to hatred of pig farmers. It beggars belief that any responsible media outlet would condone, let alone glamourise blatant criminal activity.

“It is also grossly irresponsible in animal welfare terms because the biosecurity breach of invading a pig farm could potentially endanger the health of all pigs on the farm and potentially cause a disastrous disease outbreak,” the ICSA president added.