BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Feral and Choice TV Ltd - 2014-121

Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision.]

The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that a number of cooking and fishing programmes 'perpetuate the exploitation, abuse, torture and murder of 63 million animals... per year'. Killing and preparing animals to eat is a fact of life, and the complaint was based primarily on personal preferences, not broadcasting standards issues.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Controversial Issues, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Children's Interests, Violence


[1]  Peta Feral complained about a number of cooking and fishing shows aired on Choice TV. Ms Feral argued that these programmes 'perpetuate the exploitation, abuse, torture and murder of 63 million animals... per year'. As examples, Ms Feral referred to footage of live oysters being eaten and catch-and-release fishing, both of which she alleged to be barbaric and cruel.

[2]  The issue is whether the broadcasts breached the good taste and decency, law and order, controversial issues, fairness, discrimination and denigration, responsible programming, children's interests and violence standards of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[3]  Ms Feral's concerns for the most part did not relate to specific programme content, but were more general and applied to the use of 'meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products' in these programmes. Therefore the Authority did not view each of the broadcasts separately but viewed a sample of the broadcasts complained about, and read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the programmes breach broadcasting standards?

[4]  Choice TV argued that general complaints around the use of animal products in cooking were difficult to address as it was standard cooking show material. It said that all TV networks screen plenty of these types of programmes.

[5]  While the footage included in these programmes might not be to every viewer's taste, preparing and cooking food using animal products is an everyday reality as we live in a society that eats meat and seafood.1

[6]  We do not consider that Ms Feral has raised any specific issues that engage the standards raised. The use of animal products in cooking and the practice of fishing do not in themselves trigger any standards issues. Ms Feral's concerns are based largely on personal lifestyle preferences, and do not raise issues of broadcastings standards which we can resolve within the ambit of the Code.2 The programmes complained about are all clearly about cooking (often using animal products) and fishing. Viewers are able to make a different viewing choice if a programme is likely to conflict with their personal tastes, beliefs or values.

[7]  For these reasons we decline to uphold the complaint, and Ms Feral is on notice that we may decline to determine complaints of a similar nature in future.

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
5 February 2015



The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1      Peta Feral's formal complaints to Choice TV – 18 August and 12 September 2014
2      Choice TV's response to the complaints – 15 September 2014
3      Ms Feral's referral to the Authority – 23 September 2014
4      Choice TV's response to the Authority – 23 October 2014
5      Ms Feral's final comments – 28 October 2014



1 See, for example, Irwin and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2010-087  

2 See section 5(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989