Jamie's America New York City Episode Shows Scary Inner Workings of a Queens Slaughterhouse [video]
The latest episode of Jamie's America had Jamie Oliver in New York City — specifically, Queens. Over the course of his visit, he checks out the Kabab Cafe in Astoria, eats at an illegal Peruvian restaurant run out of an apartment in Jackson Heights, spends time with a saintly man who feeds homeless illegal immigrants, enthusiastically partakes in an "underground supper club," and helps prepare some Chinese food in Flushing, all in preparation of hosting his own "anti-restaurant" supper. It's all fine and good, a view of New York City that most New Yorkers don't even experience.
But amidst all the bonhomie and back-slapping, we were shocked by the disturbing footage of Jamie's visit to a live-animal slaughterhouse. The shots are full of clear health code violations — relatively minor and correctable, to be sure (smoking, meat on the floor), but Jamie's internal chef alarm should have gone off. Maybe it did, the look he gives the camera after pointing out the head and feet lying in a pile on the ground is priceless. But after calling the slaughterhouse "proper old school," he purchases meat which he then serves to other people.
The premise of the series as a whole is that Jamie's in America as an innocent observer. After being criticized by an animal rights group for castrating a bull using a more "old school" technique in a previous episode, Oliver's spokesman defended him, saying, "Jamie is on his American road trip to observe and to learn and to show the viewing public some parts of America they might not know about." So why show this footage? To gross out the public? To make New York City look bad? To shame whatever agency is responsible for New York slaughterhouses into cracking down on practices like these? Jamie Oliver is known as an effective and dedicated animal rights supporter — his recent campaign in the UK to improve pig welfare in Jamie Saves Our Bacon comes to mind.
Here are a couple of videos: the first of Oliver in the slaughterhouse, the second of him learning how to make Dan Dan Noodles.
Video: Jamie's America: Live-Animal Slaughterhouse in Astoria
Video: Jamie's America: Dan Dan Noodles in Flushing
Also see bonus video footage of Oliver getting a glimpse of what its like to run a street cart in New York City.