Julia Bradbury and a group of young consumers discover how the humble pig can provide everything from shoes and hairbrushes to sweets and vital medical parts.
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From the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive,
from what we use to look good... SHE GIGGLES
..to what we use to relax,
our lives are full of products.
And our products are full of animals.
In the past few years, I've learnt quite a lot about how meat we eat reaches our plates.
But I've always wondered what happens to the bits of the animal
that we don't eat.
It turns out that these leftovers are made into things we use everyday.
That is a symbolic noise for, like, leather.
As well as some things we couldn't even imagine.
Oh, my God!
My face is on fire!
I've never, ever smelt anything like that!
To find out how, I'm going on an extraordinary journey
to see these raw animal parts transformed into shiny new products.
And I'm going to be joined by the people who use them to see what they make of it.
-The sheep need to get slaughtered.
-Are we going to be in the room?
Oh, my God!
Mine had a testicle on it!
Don't film me being sick!
We'll be going behind the doors of unknown companies and into hidden worlds...
That is just such a weird vision!
Just skin, hanging there!
This is when we see inside the chest.
I don't think that'll go in there!
-..and discovering what makes these animal leftovers so indispensible.
-I can't even look at it!
What am I doing here with these?
Could knowing that so many of our favourite items contain animals
change the way we feel about them forever?
Tonight, it's the pig.
We love pigs in this country.
Well, we love eating them.
In fact, we eat 20 million of them a year.
It turns out our domestic porker is a pretty versatile animal
and even the bits that we don't eat can be used to make things, like paint brushes, shoes
and even life-saving replacement parts for our bodies.
To find out how, I'm going to follow pig leftovers
from the abattoir to the shop floor.
That's just horrible!
I'm going to be joined on my journey by fellow consumers
as I ask them how they feel about using animals in this way.
It does look like something out of a horror movie.
-Here, look, have a feel.
Ugh! It's got skin in it!
The first piggy product on my list
is something we slip our own little trotters into every day.
I've got a reasonable collection of boots and shoes. They maketh the woman, after all.
Most shoes are made from leather.
But, surprisingly, a lot of them are made from pig leather, or pig suede.
The humble pig certainly has a lot to offer.
Quite literally, the skin of its back.
To follow this intriguing process, I'm joined by two fashionistas.
Meet Prince Cassius...
My look is really, like, preppy, like, English classic look.
My hair, style and personality makes me unique.
My style's gothic glamour. I like dark colours
with lots of studs, with, like, a punk type of edge.
-We get a lot of attention.
-Especially when we walk down the road.
-I get compared to The Jackson Five.
-Michael Jackson. All the time!
They love their looks, and it starts from the ground up with their shoes.
The three things I can't live without is - blazers,
bow ties and shoes.
I own a lot of pairs of shoes. I am a shoe addict.
I love open shoes, I love suede shoes,
I love colourful shoes.
I've noticed that I'm addicted to black shoes.
I have 50 pairs of shoes. Five-0.
They've never questioned where all that luxurious leather and suede comes from
for their fancy footwear.
When I buy shoes, I don't look at where it's from or what it's made out of.
I just look at how good it looks.
You just see it as a pair of shoes and you buy it.
-You don't think, "I wonder what that's made out of." You think, "That looks on trend."
But as aspiring fashion designers, they want to know
where some of their fabulous shoes start their lives.
If it's an animal it was from, I think that could actually, like, it might bother me a bit.
Like, I'll be a bit like, "Oh, OK."
They never have it on the shoes, so you don't think about it.
We both want to be fashion designers in the future.
Going on this journey will enable us to think, "What do I want my garments to be made out of?"
The main centres of pig leather production
are in China, Taiwan and Eastern Europe.
We're going to be following the process in Poland.
I've got the background in. It's spectacular.
Yeah, there. One, two, three, pose.
Yay! High five. I love it.
Enough frivolity. I'm meeting the guys half an hour outside of Krakow
and we're about to discover just where our fashionable footwear and accessories come from.
-Prince Cassius, nice to meet you. Sade, nice to meet you.
-You're both fashion students.
-You must appreciate quality products, the design, textiles.
And leather... BOTH: Yes.
-Do you think leather's worth more? Has it got a higher value in the textile world?
-You'd spend more on a leather bag or leather shoes?
Have you ever made that correlation between the animal and the product?
-We don't usually think about it.
-You don't. You just go in the shops and buy something.
The first stage, of course, of the journey, is the animal.
We're going to go and meet some piggies.
Come with me.
These pigs aren't rooting around outside.
They're at an abattoir and they're about to be slaughtered.
This is where the story of our pig-leather shoes begins.
We're visiting this meat producer
who runs an abattoir which meets all EU regulations regarding animal welfare.
Managing director Adam will be our guide.
So, where are the piggies? HE SPEAKS POLISH
These are standard domestic pigs and bred locally.
I always find this a tough moment, knowing that quite soon these animals are going to die.
-Oh, my, God! It stinks!
-Oh, my God!
-They're so big!
-Have you ever seen pigs this close before?
-I've never seen them this big.
How do you feel about the fact that, soon, they will be no more?
It's really sad. You don't really think about it.
-Are they growing on you a bit, Sade?
-Yeah, I think they're quite cute.
So, Adam, how long have the pigs been here and how long before they're slaughtered?
TRANSLATION: A couple of hours.
They are going to go down this corridor to the abattoir.
But it is a clean area and we need to get checked before we go in.
-I think you're going to love these outfits, guys!
I'm looking for the fashionistas' advice on these outfits.
-It certainly needs adjustments.
-Perhaps some tailoring.
This isn't going to go down well with you, but you have to wear the hats.
-I wouldn't wear that.
-You've got to.
-Honestly, I wouldn't...
-It's going to be flattened!
Even I'm putting it on, look.
-It won't go in.
-You haven't tried.
-I don't want to flatten it!
It's just your hair. You'll have to compress it down.
We're going in.
As much fun as trying to fit a hat on Prince's head is,
we're now entering the abattoir where the pigs we've just met are about to be killed.
This plant can slaughter and process up to 100 pigs an hour.
This is slaughter on an industrial scale.
-There's blood in there.
Right, so, what happens here, Adam?
TRANSLATION: The pigs come in here through the tunnel.
When you see the head, you use the tool
which stuns the pig with an electric shock, leaving it insensitive to pain.
Oh, my God.
-Oh, my God!
The pigs are hooked onto the lift.
It goes up here until this point, where we cut the blood vessel in its neck and it bleeds to death.
It's the beginning of the journey, from pig pen to high street.
Even they're about to die, the pigs' welfare is still paramount,
and once the process starts, the slaughtermen have to work quickly
in order to minimise any distress to the animals.
I can hear it. I can hear it. I can hear the pig.
I've seen this done before, but in much smaller abattoirs.
This is on a very different scale.
So this is the moment that the pig is stunned.
The sound of the waiting pigs squealing, and the noisy machines,
make this an incredibly scary environment.
After stunning, the pig's major blood vessels are severed and it bleeds out.
This is the pig bleeding to death now.
I've seen this twitching before, as well.
The pig will spasm for up to two minutes after it's been bled as its nervous system shuts down.
I've literally seen an animal that is dead, absolutely dead, and still twitching.
-It's very disturbing.
-Oh! Oh, my God!
For these guys, it's their first time and it's not an easy thing to watch.
-It's still moving.
-And it's been dead for how long?
-Oh, the smell!
-How do you feel?
-Can I go out and come back in again?
The smell is disgusting!
-I feel so sick.
-I needed some fresh air.
-It's tough to watch.
I thought it would be more like a natural death,
like, they wouldn't do it so...violently.
I just think nothing deserves to die...
Not like that. At all.
What are the options? HE MUMBLES
If it was just paralysing, then I, you know, I can understand why they have to do it, but...
-It doesn't seem very noble, does it?
-The second stage is just too much.
That's the stage that's killing it. The animal would wake up eventually after the stunning.
Overwhelming I think is the word.
If you are going to eat meat, wear leather,
if you are going to buy in to the industry, as it were...
-..that's what happens.
-The thing is...
-When you see the final outcome, you don't think about the way it's got there.
Like, we just saw that now, it's really shocking.
I was speechless for quite a while.
It's the end of the pig's life and the beginning of its journey onto our plates
and into our shoes.
Once it's fully bled, it travels through what is, in effect, a pig carwash.
It cleans the pig and removes most of its hair.
BOTH: Oh, my God.
It's still bleeding.
After being washed and scrubbed for 25 minutes, the pig is tumbled to loosen up any stubborn bristle.
There's obviously water in there, as well.
Most of the hair is gone. He's just shaving off the rest.
-Oh, my God.
-What do you think of it?
It's disgusting. That's what I think of it.
Normally, the skin's removed by machine, but so we can get a look,
they're going to skin this pig by hand.
Now it's ready to be skinned.
-I can't even see the blood.
-Look at the skill!
-Oh, my God.
It reminds me of scissors and fabric.
I've never seen this happen before, because in the UK you don't skin your pigs.
Because we eat crackling. We eat the skin.
The way the pigskin has just folded,
-it already sort of has the fabric-type texture to it.
-Are you looking at it differently?
-Now I see it more as fabric, because of the way it folds.
-The way it's folding in.
But it makes you think, that's just, like, that one coat of skin,
and if that was going to be a store item, they must use so much pigs.
In a matter of minutes, the pig and his skin have parted company
and the skin is ready to go off to the tanning factory to be turned into pig leather.
-Oh, my God.
-Do you want to touch it?
-I don't think I want to, no.
It's hot! It's still warm. It feels like leather. Like fleshy leather.
-The way it folds, I see it as a bag now, don't you?
-Mm. A belt.
It's not the end of the pig's journey yet. It's gutted, chopped
and ready for the butchers on the high streets of Poland.
20 minutes down the road from the abattoir is the Panda Tannery.
We're meeting Michael, and he's going to show us
how the raw pigskins are transformed into something we all recognise -
-These have got hairs on them. Do you process them with hairs and without?
-And how many do you think are in this shipment?
-More or less, 3,000.
-Wow. Oh, my God.
-Are you serious? 3,000?
Doesn't it disturb you that you know that 3,000 pigs have been skinned?
-For me, no, because we are eating the pigs,
and for the rest of the pieces we are getting the leather,
and after that you can buy fancy goods - shoes, bags, fancy leathers and stuff like that.
Once the skins have been graded for quality and weighed,
they're ready for the first stage of tanning -
getting all that fat off.
So in here, we have got defatting machines.
We have to take the fat out from the skin.
And the fat's coming out from the other side, so we can take a look.
-There it is. So, what do you do with this fat?
-We are selling the fat,
and after that, other companies producing the hand soap, mascara...
-Oh, my God!
-..for creams and...
-No way. They put that in mascara?
-Creams, soap, mascaras, makeup, cosmetics.
-I wear mascara every day.
-Did you know lots of cosmetics contain animal fat?
-Well, that's animal fat.
It's really disturbing.
As surprising as it may be to Sade and Prince,
animal fats are still used in lots of products we use every day.
From makeup, to handwash and even soap.
Once defatted, the skin is ready for the next stage,
and I get the feeling that we're expected to get hands-on.
-What goes on inside the drum?
-The chemicals go inside the drum
and they are removing the hairs and removing the fat.
-So, these in there?
-Is that why we're wearing gloves?
-I prefer not to do that.
-I just prefer not to touch it.
-You don't want to touch?
-Underneath looks like fabric.
-Do you want me to help you?
-Please, Prince! Thank you. I thought I was going to do them all.
After 48 hours in the defatting and dehairing drum,
the skins are then added to another drum for another 48 hours.
The chemicals in this one stabilise the skins
and stop them rotting.
This is the end of the tanning and the skins are preserved.
After four days of being tumbled, dehaired and defatted,
Sade finally gets to grips with the pigskins.
What does it feel like?
I'll get the other end.
Pigskin is an incredibly efficient material.
You can get two pig-shaped pieces of leather from one skin.
So this is the splitting machine.
It splits the leather for two pieces.
It definitely feels more like fabric than anything than we've felt before.
-So, this is transformed for you now?
-Yes. This reminds me of fabric.
Just a few hours ago, we saw the pigs in the slaughterhouse.
I know. It's shocking because, from the very beginning, you see it and you're traumatised by it,
but as soon as you see this, you don't link the two together.
-It's all OK now. It's all a fabric!
-It's not all OK, because obviously I know where it's come from,
however, I don't feel as...
At this stage, the skin can go off to be made into suede.
But today, it's being made into leather.
The skins are now ready to be dyed with a base colour. And you guessed it - more drums.
It's then dried and ready for the last process, where the final finish is applied.
-This is leather now?
Sometimes you have to put even six coats on the leather.
-So just lots and lots and lots of coats and layers.
-Lots and lots.
This is what we kind of see on the streets.
It's a long way from the little piggy, isn't it?
-A dramatic change.
Having seen the journey from snorting pig to soft leather,
I'm keen to know if Sade and Prince Cassius feel any different about their shiny new leather goods.
This is the final product.
-That's my favourite.
-You like that?
-What do you think of that?
-It feels of luxury.
-Do you want a pair of shoes made out of that?
-I wouldn't say no,
but at the same time, I wouldn't spend, spend, spend as much as I used to on leather.
-Would you not?
-No. I would actually get, this might sound shocking,
fake leather on some items.
As soon as we walked in here, I was like, "Ooh, fabric!"
I completely, for like a second, forgot about where it came from,
and that only happened a while ago.
-A few hours ago.
-All I can see is shoes.
-Feel the soft, soft suede.
-Wow. I like these. Feel these.
-I see something I like.
-"I see something I like!"
On that shoe, the inner lining coming from the pigskin,
but the rest of the shoe is coming from cow skin because it's stronger.
Two animals in one shoe.
I love it as a shoe, it's beautiful, I still would wear it,
but it was an animal a couple of hours ago.
I would have to reconsider, like, how many pairs of shoes I buy.
Personally, when I look at the shoe, I don't see the animal.
You know in the back of your mind because it's the first thing we saw,
but, as a consumer, you see that in a shop, you're not thinking about that.
It's been a dramatic day. The process here is quite different to the process you witness in the UK.
But look at our fashionistas. A few hours ago, they were shocked and horrified.
They said the slaughter was disgusting.
-I love that.
-I love the colour.
-..they're just lost in leather.
-This is so nice.
-This is so soft.
Given that we tend to eat the skin on our pigs,
it's a surprise to discover it's the perfect material for our fashionable accessories.
But it's also made its mark in another high-profile area.
They were the preserve of sailors and prisoners, but tattoos are now the height of cool.
You're not anybody unless you've got an angel on your neck
or a flower running up your back.
Tattoos are everywhere.
And it's a bit of the domestic pig that's helped train artists,
like Andrew J May, ink our bodies.
Having a tattoo is a major decision. I've wanted to have one for years.
You need to consider three things - what are you going to have,
where are you going to have it,
and then, most importantly, your tattoo artist.
Come on. When I have it done, I'm not going to do it on television!
-This is obviously pigskin here.
-Most tattoo artists initially learn to tattoo using pigskin
because it's so similar to human skin.
Because looking at this, the ink has really been absorbed into the flesh,
as it would with a human, I presume.
It's porous like human skin. It's got the same layers, the epidermis and the dermis.
It offers the same kind of level of resistance as human skin.
In the same way you can feel paper underneath a pen,
you can feel the skin through the end of the needle.
And other than the fact you don't have any healing process
and you don't get to see the finished product in a couple of weeks,
it's as good as you can get really.
-Is this how you learnt?
-I did my first dozen or so tattoos on pigskin.
It's almost the same as tattooing a person, other than it's cold and doesn't respond.
-But it's flesh.
It's the closest thing you can get without ruining your friend's arm forever!
-Can I have a little go?
-I don't see why not.
-Hold it like a pen, is that right?
-That's right. You pretty much use it like a pen.
Maybe a little bit more pressure than when you're writing.
But it's a hard thing to explain, which is why it's important to practise on pigskin first.
'If I don't press hard enough, I won't make my mark. Press too hard, the needle will stop.
'As will my career as a tattooist.'
I can feel the skin scagging.
Ooh, I... Oh, dear. NEEDLE STOPS
It's difficult to know when...
when you're in the skin, as it were.
It's important not to press that hard on a person.
Because I'd be causing a lot of pain by now.
You would. And you'd end up with a lovely blurry line, as well, if you go in too hard.
It just feels weird to me.
To start with, tattooing does feel quite weird.
Scratching! Scratching! That would so hurt!
It's a little easier on a person because you can pull the skin tighter.
You just hold on and pull. That stops it catching in the skin so much.
I'm going to try and do that little tail. Pulling tight.
A new career beckons. Coming to a tattoo parlour near you soon!
-Marks out of ten?
-Oh, seven or eight, I reckon.
You're very generous!
All I can say is, I'm pleased that's nobody's arm.
It's amazing to learn that pigskin is so similar to ours.
And there's something else we've got in common, too. Our hair.
It turns out that pig hair, or bristle, as it's often known,
is the perfect natural material to make something I use every day - a hairbrush.
I'm told the best bristle comes from boars,
so I'm off to a specialist breeder just outside Manchester.
I've never given much thought to what I run through my hair,
but a lot of brushes are made using real bristle,
which means they're made from part of a dead pig.
So I'm on my way to see where the life of a pig ends and the life of a hairbrush begins.
The majority of pig hair used in bristle brushes
comes from the cooler areas of China and India,
which means they have longer hair.
Here, we slaughter pigs relatively young and shorthaired. I'll learn about the process,
starting with one of the only breeds of long-haired pigs we still have in the UK - wild boar.
These are the finest hand-reared pigs, served up a continental breakfast every day.
Wild boars are the ancestors of our humble, less hairy, domestic pig.
Looking at these beasts, I can see why their hair is so good for brushes.
But whether I'd want to run that through my hair is another matter.
These hairy boars are off to be slaughtered for market,
and I think they should be able to provide a good handful of hair for a brush.
Showing me how this is done is John Mettrick.
Hi, John. Hello! Good to see you. How are you?
His family run a slaughtering and butchery business in the Peak District.
We've got a couple of wild boar cross pigs here.
We use the wild boar cross because these are a lot more timid than the pure-bred wild boars.
Because they'd be racing round this pen.
They operate what's known as a "best practice abattoir",
which means animal welfare is a top priority.
You've got Carlos here, who's doing an antemortem inspection.
He's making sure the animals are fit for slaughter.
-They look pretty fit.
-And they're hairy.
-Which, for our purposes today...
-Is exactly what we want.
As with every abattoir in the UK, I've got to cover up before I step into the slaughter area.
The slaughterman is going to stick the pig over here, then it'll go into this pig tank,
-which is going to dehair the pig.
-The boil wash.
I saw domestic pigs killed in the Polish abattoir,
but the hairy boars are sprayed with water
to ensure a good contact with the electric stunner.
An electric current is used to render the pig completely insensitive to pain.
Brian's got it over the sticking area now.
He's going to cut all the main blood vessels there in the neck.
Once the animal is bled out, it's dead.
But the chemicals in its body will continue to make its muscles spasm
and expel any air from its chest.
It's the strangest thing when an animal is clearly dead but snorting.
It must be bathtime.
Mark's going to get the pig now and put it into this pig tank, which will remove the hair.
The tank's set at a temperature of about 66 degrees,
so it doesn't actually cook the pig, but it loosens the hair and the nails
so that they can come off easily.
And these paddles will help to pull the hair off the pig.
The hot water cleans the pig's skin and removes contamination.
The process takes three-and-a-half minutes.
-There's nothing else in that water?
-No, nothing at all.
You can see a bit of discolouration in the water. That's just the dirt coming off the pig.
That's just strange, isn't it?
-Pig onto the table.
-Look at that!
-What a difference.
It's like a... Oh! It looks like a chicken now.
-There is a bit of hair attached to the head...
..and the backs of the legs, and these can be scraped off.
That's the same problem area that we ladies have.
There's the toenails being removed.
That's just horrible!
Judging by the hairs the lads have been scraping off,
there should be some good hairs in the tank.
-Plenty there, by the looks of it.
-You wondered what this was for!
I mean, it literally is a bath of hair. It's almost solid!
-I don't think that's going to go in there!
-Squeeze it in!
I'll push it in. I don't mind touching it.
-You could make a wig out of this.
There we are. Three bags of hair.
Lovely. Three bags of boar bristle, ready to be processed.
It's not all about the hair. Once the pig is completely bald, it's gutted and hung.
Then it's inspected by the vet for any signs of disease,
before going off for sale on the high street.
I'm going to follow the hair onto the next stage of its journey into a hairbrush,
as hard as that is to imagine right now.
The last hair-processing plant in this country closed over 40 years ago.
So I'm going to have to prepare these bristles ready for a hairbrush myself.
To help me, I'm meeting one of the few remaining pig-bristle experts left in the country - Mark Samuel.
Where else but in the hairdressers?
You're a rare commodity indeed. You're a bristle dealer.
I am. Or have been a bristle dealer for 30 years.
-But there aren't many of you left.
-Unfortunately, the whole of this trade has moved to China.
OK, well, I have brought you some rare British boar bristle.
And it is, quite literally, hot off the hog.
Hopefully, we can turn this wild boar bristle
into a finished hairbrush.
-Something like that.
-Something like that.
So, first of all,
we have to take this filthy mess and clean it.
-Shampoo and set, sir?!
-Shampoo and set will do nicely!
On hand to help is trainee hairdresser Shelby.
-Shelby, little gift for you. Have you ever worked with pig hair?
-I can't say I have!
Have a little look, have a little feel.
-Ugh, that's minging!
-< HE LAUGHS
Have a feel.
It's got skin in it!
If we were in a bristle-dressing factory in China,
we'd obviously have machinery
to remove all the dirt from the bristle.
Unfortunately, we're just armed with a comb and some water and shampoo.
It's difficult to not get rid of all the actual hair itself.
Put it in there.
-It's looking much better already.
Oh, look at that big bit of skin. That's gross!
Right, well, there is our clean bristle.
And I have to say, it's not looking that clean.
You can see why nobody wants to do it in England, can't you?
You see how curved it is?
For making brushes, you need to have the bristle straight.
Traditionally, you would boil it.
You would tie this onto a stick
and you would boil it for about six hours.
Again, this is done on a massive scale in factories.
In a factory in China, you'd probably have 100, 200 people
sitting there and boiling it.
We don't have that, so we're going to use hair straighteners.
-You've never done this before, have you?
-I don't think anyone has! Let's give it a go.
So off the boar today...
I think that might be working.
-It is straightening out.
Once it's straightened, the bristle has to be sorted by size
and bundled with a thick root all on one side.
This is normally done by machine.
-You and I have got a long night ahead of us.
My bristle isn't looking so mucky any more
and I'm impressed with my Blue Peter attempt at bristle processing.
It's certainly a long way from the boar it came off this morning.
My next destination has been appointed by the Queen to look after her mop.
It makes hairbrushes for Her Majesty and the rest of us hoi polloi.
Marcia Cosby will be my guide.
-I come with a paltry offering.
-This is rare-breed boar bristle.
-I procured it in a very honest way.
-I should hope so, too! Don't want anything dishonest here.
-Er, there's not that much, is there?
-No, there's not that much.
-You've got an awful lot of bristles.
-Where are all these from?
All the bristle comes from either China or India.
Something here, this is sort of what they should look like. This is what we need.
-That's the natural length of the boar's bristle.
It's a cold climate, so they need this to keep warm.
Unlike our English piggies, this boar has all this hair.
-So, this is from China?
-This one is from China.
We take out different sections for different uses.
So near the base here, which is the root end,
that's used for a very stiff hairbrush.
If you've got a mass of hair, you need it to get through to the scalp. That's where the natural oils are.
The hairbrush brings those oils down the hair shaft,
literally feeding and looking after your hair.
And nearer this top, this flag end, it's messier, it's thinner.
It still has a use for things like baby brushes or clothes brushes.
Most of the factory is automated, but for the creme de la creme
they still make them by hand at a cost of up to £145 each.
One of the few people left in this country
with the skill to craft a pig hairbrush is Jane Howard,
and she's been doing it for over 26 years.
This is Julia. She's brought you a little present.
-As a gift for you.
-A Mancunian animal.
-Would you like to put them in?
-I'd like you to show me and we'll have a go!
-Right. Make a loop.
-Pass it through.
Then get some of these lovely bristles...
-I'm pleased you're feeling the love!
-I'm getting used to it!
And we try and make it into a nice shape.
-There you are!
-There's a shape!
-And then you give it a little pull.
-I think you really should have a go now.
So first of all you said put the hoop through?
There we go. Now I've got to get my bristles.
That goes into there.
-So it's laying on top.
-Oh, I see. Oh, God!
'I'm all fingers and thumbs. Jane's made it look so simple!'
See, that's not easy.
-Oh, I pulled it a bit too far through.
I just can't do it! I'll have to find a different way to do that.
It's all getting slightly embarrassing now.
Here we go.
Oh! Oh, rubbish!
That is not easy.
Oh, dear me! I don't think you're going to give me a job, are you?
If you are, it would take me about 26 years to make one brush!
It's been a fascinating journey.
It's one of the most common, everyday products in the world,
but how many people actually think about how it's made and what it's made of?
Do you consider that every day you're running pig hair through your own hair?
It doesn't bother me.
Does it bother consumers?
I took my brush and my bristle on to the streets.
-Really silly question... What's this?
-What are these?
-What are they made out of?
-You should know. You work in a salon.
-Where do you think bristles come from?
-What are bristles made out of?
-I ain't got a clue! Plastic, innit?
-That is some form of hair.
-It is indeed. It's the hair off an animal. Any idea which?
-It's not a horse.
-Pig have hair?
-Pig have hair!
-Is it disgusting or are you cool with that?
-First time you've ever really thought about that?
-Little bit disgusted?
-Just a tad.
You know when you read on the packet "real bristle"? That's what it is.
-You didn't know that?
-Has it put you off?
So I've seen how the pig's bristles can be used to make brushes...
..but to find out what else it has to offer us, I'm going deep inside its body.
# There's a fire
# Starting in my heart... #
Last year, I was diagnosed with a heart condition
called aortic stenosis.
It came totally out of the blue, because I've been working out since I was, like, 14.
It was when I was doing a fitness test at college, it was the mile run,
and I couldn't stop coughing after it.
So I went to the doctor. I was sent off for ECGs and heart scans.
I had this rare heart condition and needed heart surgery.
Robyn's heart valve wasn't opening fully
and was obstructing the blood flow out of her heart.
I was told that if I carried on with my fitness,
I could've been a goner in a year's time.
I came out of the surgeon's office just totally devastated.
They had to take my own aortic valve and replace it with pig's one.
They chose a pig's because it's the most similar to a human valve.
The pig valve replicates the function of the diseased human valve.
I was shocked to know that you could take bits from animals and put them inside a human.
Until now, Robyn's never thought about where her heart valve actually comes from.
It's a by-product from a humble domestic porker that's transformed her life,
and I want her to know how.
So I'm going to the source of Robyn's life-saving valve - the pig's heart.
But I'm not going by myself.
I've come to meet Robyn. We're going to watch a pig being dissected
and the heart's going to be removed. I've never seen that before.
How are you feeling?
A little bit nervous!
The man taking us through the dissection is Dr Dan Tucker
from Cambridge University Veterinary School.
-So, you're in charge of our dissection today?
What we need to do before we go into the post-mortem room is put some protective clothing on.
There may be some pathogens lurking around.
This pig had to be put down. It was very ill and in pain.
Dr Tucker and his colleague, Professor Alan Williams,
will carry out an autopsy to find out what was causing the illness.
While they're doing this, they've offered to give us a closer look at the pig's heart.
This pig wasn't coping on the farm. He had a lameness problem. We need to find out the cause.
When we've finished our discussion, we'll be putting him through the full work-up.
-This wasn't a well pig?
-No. A very uncomfortable pig.
-How you feeling looking at the pig?
First, we're going to open up through the skin to separate back the legs.
Then we'll open up the chest cavity and look at the heart and lungs.
-Well done, you're doing very well.
-In terms of their anatomy, pigs are very close to humans, aren't they?
Blood pressures in the pig are remarkably similar to people.
We live similar lifestyles - mainly sedentary.
We forage around for food and we go to sleep. So the whole metabolism is the same.
Stage one, what do you think?
It does look like something out of a horror movie.
That's the larynx, the voice box.
Allan's removing some of the muscles on either side of the voice box, down through the windpipe,
and then we'll open up the chest cavity.
The pigs used in the medical profession, for example, in a case like Robyn,
would they come from the same place?
A lot of the material does come from routine slaughterhouses.
But it goes through a very rigorous process of treatment and assessment to make sure that it is safe to use.
-You can smell it now.
-I was thinking that myself.
There's the liver appearing...
I find this fascinating, but I can't imagine what this is like for Robyn.
These are bone cutters, which cut bone, not muscle, reasonably well.
This is the bit that I'm absolutely fascinated by.
These are the lungs. We've got the heart sitting in the middle.
-Do you want to look at the heart?
-This bit here.
The equivalent to the bit that's inside you is underneath there.
We'll show you that in a few minutes.
How does that make you feel?
You've got a bit...
of an animal like that in you.
Are you OK?
How are you feeling? Do you feel a bit faint?
Do you want some fresh air? We can get some fresh air.
Being so close to the exposed innards of this pig proves too much for Robyn.
It's time to step outside.
-I don't know.
It just suddenly hit me, this wave of,
"I'm going to be sick."
It's not an everyday situation, is it?
It's a hard thing for Robyn to deal with, but she wants to see it through to the end.
Are you ready? OK, come on.
Back in the dissection room, Professor Williams has removed the heart and lungs.
These are the lungs, this is the heart, and a little bit of windpipe at the front.
The lungs are cut away and the heart is rinsed in the sink to remove the excess blood
so we can get a better look.
I've had a bit of a clean up. This is the aorta. It's a very thick-walled elastic structure.
And down there, you can actually see the aortic valve.
Now it's time to dissect the heart to get the best look at the aortic valve,
just like the one in Robyn's heart.
-When you hear your heart beat, what are you listening to?
-Actually, the dub.
If you think of the heartbeat as being a "lub dub",
the dub is the closing of the aortic valve.
And your pulse that you feel is the shockwave of that aortic valve closing.
Robyn, about 18 months ago,
somebody was doing this with a pig heart,
-preparing a valve for you.
I wonder if they're already there.
-Sort of pre-packaged?
-Gentlemen, are there valves ready and waiting?
-And then somebody picked your valve. "This is the one for Robyn."
-I suppose so!
-This is the bit that was transplanted over to you.
-That is incredible!
-Do you want to hold it?
And now there's just one final cut to reveal the three leaflets
that make up the valve and keep the blood pumping around our bodies.
Do you see these little cusps? They're like little half moons.
They're little pockets. Very tough, fibrous tissue.
-They look very delicate.
-They look like little petals.
If it wasn't for these, as you know, you can't cope.
Little tiny touch?
-It's funny that something that small saved me.
-That's keeping you alive.
That's why you're standing here now.
Robyn's heart valve-replacement operation was pioneered over 30 years ago.
Even the late, great John Wayne had one.
In what's now a standard procedure, the chest is opened up.
The heart is stopped...
..and a machine takes its place while the surgeons operate.
The diseased valve is cut out and replaced with a pig's
that's taken four weeks to produce from slaughter to final product,
including being treated with chemicals to reduce the risk of rejection.
The new valve is carefully stitched into the heart
and connected to the main artery.
The heart is restarted and the chest closed using titanium wire,
leaving the patient to recover.
Did you ever question whether or not you would accept part of an animal?
I didn't question it at all.
When it's a matter of life and death, I don't think anybody would think twice about it.
-I'm just happy to be standing here!
-Absolutely. We're happy, as well!
Thanks, little piggies!
Seeing this dissected pig really brings home
how close the anatomy of humans and pigs is.
I know it hasn't been easy, but are you glad that you've seen it?
Yes. Because it's not something I get to do every day.
-It's not something anybody gets to do every day. Apart from those guys.
-Apart from them.
I feel like I know a lot more about it.
If I have to go through it again, I'll know everything.
-You're not going to be a surgeon, though?
Anything that involves blood, I'm staying well clear of!
A recyclable heart valve
is certainly the most specialised piggy by-product I've discovered.
And it means I've now seen the pig's skin, its bristle
and even its organs turned into products we can use.
You'd think our porcine pal would have nothing left to offer. But you'd be wrong.
Because there's another product that we all come across every day which started life as a pig,
and it's called gelatine.
Most of us consume gelatine every day. I do.
My sweeties, gravy, capsules... But I haven't made any. Until now.
Helping me out is chef Peter Vaughn.
Right, let's start by clarifying exactly what gelatine is.
-I mean, I know it comes from these bits.
It's an ingredient that comes from the breakdown of collagen.
Collagen's found in the skin and the bones and even in the cartilage.
But we've got to boil it out. So we've got to make a great big stock.
-OK. A pig stock.
What I'm going to do, Julia, I'm literally going to take pig's trotters...
-Squeeze them in there.
-Squeeze them in and boil them.
-And the boiling releases the collagen and the gelatine?
Why is it such a ubiquitous product? Why is it found in so many things that we consume?
For a chef's answer, I think it's an amazing binding agent,
an incredible stabiliser, wonderful texture.
It's reactive to heat, so it goes liquid upon heat.
And it's found not just in pork, and we use a lot of pork here,
but in cows, chicken and even fish.
There are so many fish that have a gelatinous substance.
-And it's got that nice texture about it, hasn't it?
-Amazing. Absolutely incredible texture.
It needs to simmer for three hours before setting,
so here's one that Peter prepared earlier.
-This is it, yes. Erm...
-Do you want to have a taste?
The texture is incredible. The taste isn't brilliant.
It doesn't taste anything like my sweeties, but...it's all right.
I don't think people realise quite how much gelatine is used in products.
So a lot of sugar, some colour and flavour turn this...
But we don't just eat pork gelatine.
Its gelling qualities mean it's used in soaps,
face creams and even in bath capsules.
I've come to a shopping centre to find out if anyone realises
they could be bathing in a pig by-product.
Do you like nice bubble baths? ALL: Yes.
Have a little smell of these lovely bath capsules.
-Smell quite nice?
-What do you think they're made out of?
-It's hard but soft at the same time.
-Not a clue.
-No? Shall I show you?
I'm a bit worried.
You want to put that down now!
-Look, look. Flesh.
Oh, God! Are you serious?
-So I put this in my bath?
The capsule on the outside is gelatine.
-I didn't know that. That's a bit weird.
-Yes. It's very weird, actually.
-What do you think of that?
-You had no idea?
-I had no idea.
-Are you still happy to have a good old bath with those?
-I'm not sure!
Is it going to change anything?
-You put that in your bath!
But the gelatine story doesn't stop at food and bathing products.
I've seen how a pig's heart valve saved Robyn,
but I've heard that gelatine can also play a vital role in preserving lives.
To find out more, I've come to Wiltshire to meet a ballistics expert.
I've never met a ballistics expert! I have no idea what I'm doing here, so explain.
Today, I'm mixing some pig gelatine with water
which we can then use to test.
-To test what?
-We're testing the ammunition on the gelatine.
Right. So, you're testing bullets on pig gelatine,
which represents what?
-This is close to human flesh, is that it?
The gelatine mixture is a good replica of human soft tissue.
There was lots of trials done against actual pigs
because it's thought that they're the closest to mimic the human body.
There's lots of ethical reasons why you wouldn't want to test against pigs,
so they found the next best thing, which is pig gelatine.
-Right. Dead pigs?
-20 percent gelatine...
Delia Smith here!
-Gelatine into the water.
And purely mix.
-A big old food mixer.
This is the stuff that goes into our sweets and bath capsules
and will take about three hours to set in a fridge.
-Can I put my finger in there?
-Go for it, if you want.
Enjoy the smell of wet dog.
Enough levity. This is serious stuff.
-And these are the guns that we're testing?
-Yes. We've got an AK-74.
We've got an MP5 and the final one is a hunting rifle.
We'll be taking these, firing them at the gelatine down the bottom.
OK, are you testing the bullets to make them better,
or are you testing the flesh to see how it reacts to the bullets?
We're testing to understand how the bullet interacts with the flesh
so we can then use that to advance the treatment of personnel if they get shot,
and so we can learn to protect them better.
-It's quite macabre.
-Some people do think that, yes!
I'm amazed that something as commonplace as gelatine
has such an important role in medicine.
Looking at it, it's hard to imagine, but there's no doubting it feels like flesh.
That is so strange.
I could be giving somebody a massage.
I'm completely intrigued to see how this is going to be impacted by ammunition.
Our cameras won't catch these speeding bullets,
so we're using a high-speed camera that can slow the bullet down to one-thousandth of its speed.
This is what we're going to be firing.
It's a full metal jacket 5.45 by 39mm bullet.
-'The AK-74 is one of the weapons of choice for Taliban fighters.'
It's time to see what impact its bullet has on our gelatine block.
In your own time, fire.
That goes through your whole body, doesn't it?
-So we've got the bullet entering here.
-That's a tiny entry hole.
And the bullet's passed along, and you can see it's tumbled here.
The bullet's gone 360 degrees round, presented a large surface area.
And it's actually stretching what would be the muscle, pulling it out the way.
That's massive internal damage. I mean, if that was your stomach...
And then it's passed up to here.
Seeing the potential damage this bullet could do,
I realise why it's vital for frontline medics to understand injuries they treat,
and for those designing armour and bulletproof vests
to know what they're up against.
Next, we're testing the 9mm submachine gun.
It's used by special forces around the world.
But they're finding their way onto the black market,
which means we need to know how to protect ourselves and treat the bullet wounds.
Wow. So this is very different.
This one's gone straight in and pretty much straight out. Not as much tumbling.
If you saw, it was a different size and shape of bullet.
-Yes. Much wider.
It's also going at a slower velocity.
What you're getting here, through the entrance hole,
it is literally ploughing its way straight through and out the other end.
-Small exit wound, and it's somewhere over there.
You see there's a hole in the target there.
Strange though it may be, I can see why this kind of research is essential.
But I can't help thinking about the fact that pork gelatine
could also be used to help design more efficient bullets.
This next bullet is for hunting and is designed to stop a large animal in its tracks.
This has been a bittersweet experiment.
On the one hand, pig gelatine is being used to work out the efficacy of bullets,
and on the other hand, it's being used to help the medical profession to treat wounds.
I'm going to take that bit away with me. It's remarkable stuff!
The pig is, without doubt, one of the most versatile animals I've come across.
It's in my shoes, it makes up part of my hairbrush. It can even save my life.
It's so close to us biologically, we can farm it for human spare parts
and even use it to discover the best way of treating serious injuries.
I'm never going to look at my bacon sandwich in the same way again.
Next time on Kill It, Cut It, Use It... Fish and seafood.
-That is really disgusting!
Imagine the shoes!
Oh, my God. It's a fish!
# Have you seen the little piggies
# Crawling in the dirt?
# And for all the little piggies
# Life is getting worse
# Always having dirt
# To play around in... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
From the sheep parts hidden in your soap to the fishy ingredient in your favourite pint, though you probably don't know it, the bits of the animals we don't eat for dinner often end up being made into the products we use everyday.
Julia Bradbury goes on an eye-opening journey to find out how. She is joined by the young consumers who use these products, from a pair of fashionistas to a fitness fan, to uncover the surprising animal origins of our most popular items by following the transformation of each leftover body part all the way from the abattoir to the shop floor.
In this programme, Julia discovers how the humble pig can provide everything from shoes and hairbrushes to sweets and vital medical parts.