Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison thinks children should go on school trips to abbatoirs

Countryfile host Ellie Harrison has called on children to be taken to abbatoirs on school trips.

The popular presenter said that pupils should visit slaughterhouses to see the reality of where their meat comes from.

Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison
Ellie Harrison wants pupils to take trips to see animals be killed (BBC/Jack Coathupe)

She told Countryfile magazine: "To my knowledge, there are no abattoirs open to the public or to school trips and I think it's a shame.

"It's the last connection to our food that's missing amid the resurgence of interest in food provenance."

The 38-year-old, who joined the show in 2009, admitted she has so many caveats for the death of the animals she eats that "every time meat is offered to me on Countryfile, I'm left rather impotently saying, 'I'm veggie' for TV brevity."

She continued: "Pigs I've observed have traits of intelligence on a par with dogs.

Ellie Harrison
Ellie with her Countryfile co-hosts: for the sake of the show, she says she's vegetarian (Oliver Edwards/BBC)

"Lambs are uncomfortably young when they go to slaughter and it's noted at the market shed ewes mourn for several nights.

"Am I okay with that? No. But 'mutton', which is two years old, I could eat."

But she said that no problem eating fish, recalling her time at a "killing table" at a Scottish salmon farm for a recent episode of BBC rural affairs programme where she watched the fish's heads being cut off to kill them.

"If I was squeamish or sad about it, or if I wanted somebody else to do it, I don't deserve to eat salmon," she said.

Ellie Harrison
Ellie, who is currently presenting Secret Britain, will be taking a maternity break in May (Jack Coathupe/BBC)

The mother of two, who is pregnant with her third child, owns a herd of Dexter cattle.

She will be taking a break from Countryfile in May to welcome her new addition.

Countryfile is now one of the BBC's most popular programmes, drawing in its biggest-ever audience of 8.6 million in February.

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