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  1. ITV Report

George Monbiot serves up 'rather fat' squirrel live on Newsnight

George Monbiot takes an axe to the Credit: BBC Newsnight

An axe-wielding journalist butchered and ate a squirrel on live television last night, prompting shock on social media.

Writer and noted environmentalist George Monbiot prepared the creature on BBC's Newsnight programme to highlight the benefits of roadkill, after he controversially admitted in his Guardian column to finding and cooking a squirrel.

Mr Monbiot chopped up the "rather fat" squirrel - bought from a farm shop - before taking an axe to another carcass he had prepared earlier.

James O'Brien washed down the fried squirrel with a sip of red wine Credit: BBC Newsnight

Newsnight presenter James O'Brien described a chunk of the fried meat marinated in lemon juice as "perfectly edible" as he washed it down with a sip of a "nice Chianti"- perhaps a subtle reference to Hannibal Lecter and The Silence of the Lambs.

Monbiot said he regards all farmed meat as "unethical" and criticised the poor living conditions of animals, and the environmental impact of industrial farming techniques on the five minute segment of the show.

The said he would "take just about anything" when it came to roadkill, but wouldn't touch cats or dogs because their "owners would be upset".

Viewers took to Twitter to express their surprise and shock at the demonstration.

Some commentators even suggested that the clip was like something out of news satire programme, Brass Eye.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom has told ITV News that they have not received any complaints about the feature.