Campaigners protest the treatment of animals
Peta protesters gathered outside of Channel 4's studios to campaign against the show, The Island With Bear GryllsPeta

Channel 4 TV show The Island With Bear Grylls has upset animal protection groups after a pig was slaughtered on one of the episodes.

Organisations including Peta, OneKind, Animal Aid and the Vegetarians' International Voice for Animals (Viva!) have all insisted the broadcaster implements an animal welfare policy so nothing of the sort is seen on the network again.

The uproar initially came about after Channel 4 aired an episode of the staged survivalist show that saw its female contestants slashing the throat of a sleeping pig. Throughout the killing, the pig appears visibly stressed and can be heard squealing.

Previously on the show, the male contestants had hunted and killed a certain species of crocodile, which is so rare in America that it has been placed under the protection of Endangered Species Act. It is against the law to kill or harm an animals within the act.

The animal rights campaigners reportedly sent a joint letter after it was revealed the pigs were specifically shipped to the uninhabited Pearl Islands in which the show is filmed, by one of the programme's producers, eluding to the fact that their sole purpose was to be killed and eaten by the contestants.

The groups state in the letter, sent to Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, that if the same actions were carried out in the UK, the contestants could receive charges and potentially face imprisonment. They carry on to say: "Torturing and killing animals is a cruel way to attempt to boost ratings and sends an especially harmful message to your young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV."

On top of that backlash, almost 500 complaints were made against the show following the particularly controversial episodes.

Peta director Mimi Bekhechi said: "There is simply no excuse for this kind of callous disregard for life. TV producers and broadcasters can entertain audiences without resorting to cruelty to animals."

Channel 4 protested the accusations of the mistreatment of animals and defended the show by arguing that all of the show's participants "were trained in the humane capture and dispatch of live animals and the animals were killed humanely".