Millions Watched This YouTuber Raise a Pet Pig. Then He Shared His Dinner.

The heartwarming videos took a dark turn. Or so we thought.
September 17, 2021, 9:09am
YouTube, pet pig, animal, pets, meat, pork, Kalbi, 100 days, food loss
Kalbi, the pig and YouTube star. Photo: Courtesy of “Eaten Pig after 100 days”

Kalbi the pink piglet was treated like any other beloved pet. Despite its tongue-in-cheek name—Kalbi means roasted short ribs in Korean—the pig was dressed in cute get-ups and swaddled in blankets like a baby. Heartwarming videos of the pig earned a YouTube channel over 100,000 followers just weeks following its debut.

But in between endearing shots of Kalbi, its owner flashed pieces of raw pork meat at the camera, a reminder of the YouTuber’s purported goal: to eat his pet after 100 days.

The tens of thousands of viewers who were fond of the pig begged the YouTuber to spare Kalbi’s life. Some said it was nothing short of animal cruelty, calling the host a psychopath. One commenter implored the owner to put himself in Kalbi’s hooves: “How would you feel, if you loved someone deeply but they were just waiting to kill you?”

The 100-day countdown ended Sept. 1, when the owner of the YouTube channel “Eaten Pig after 100 days” posted a video of him pulling out a pig carcass from a cardboard box, and then seasoned the meat and cooked it. Kalbi was all but presumed dead.

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“Abnormal,” “cruel,” “disgusting”: condemnation flooded the comment section of the video, which has been watched millions of times, more than any of the other 102 films on the channel. And the YouTuber, who simply refers to himself as “the owner,” received death and bomb threats for his actions. 

YouTube, pet pig, animal, pets, meat, pork, Kalbi, 100 days, food loss

The roasted pig in the 100th video. Photo: Courtesy of "Eaten Pig after 100 days"

Speaking to VICE World News on condition of anonymity—he fears for his safety—the owner of the YouTube channel said his videos are meant to get people thinking about what they eat. He said his goal was to show supermarket meat came from animals just as cute as Kalbi, and that should people choose to eat meat, as the YouTuber himself does, they should at least be appreciative of the animal’s sacrifice.

“The way we normally talk about the consequences of eating meat doesn’t attract a lot of attention. In order for the message to get across, a lot of people have to see it first,” he said.

Food waste is a global problem, and one that the YouTuber believes could be alleviated if more people saw meat as a precious resource. In Japan, the authorities have adopted measures to encourage reduction in food loss. A 2019 government survey suggests that nearly 80 percent of people were taking some form of action—buying fewer groceries at once, eating leftovers, eating past the best-by date—to reduce waste.

YouTube, pet pig, animal, pets, meat, pork, Kalbi, 100 days, food loss

Over the course of 100 days, the YouTuber pampered and coddled Kalbi.

Working with a Japanese video editing company, the YouTuber in his 30s chose a pig to stand out in an oversaturated pet media market. “There are lots of dog and cat channels already, so we reckoned we wouldn’t get many views if we started one,” he said. 

His strategy paid off. His channel platform gained over 100,000 subscribers in 100 days, and more than three million people watched the final 100-day video, in which a pig was washed, doused in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted on an outdoor grill to amber brown perfection. The owner is then seen offering his respects in front of a make-shift butsudan (Buddhist family altar) for Kalbi, the same one he sat with during the interview with VICE World News. The video ends with a touching montage of Kabli’s supposed best days.

Plot twist—the YouTuber uploaded a video last Friday, showing that Kalbi is alive and well. A different pig was cooked for dinner.

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Some viewers were relieved. But others still accused the YouTuber of using the pigs for clicks and profit at the expense of their emotional well-being—watching a cute pig oblivious of its fated death is apparently too harrowing to watch. 

Raising and killing pigs to make a point about food appreciation didn’t sit well with some animal rights groups.

“Pigs are smart, curious, playful animals. Killing them is as unethical as slitting the throat of the family dog,” Nirali Shah, a spokesperson for PETA, told VICE World News.

“We urge everyone not to watch this YouTube channel and to show compassion to all pigs and other animals by leaving them off their plates.”

Susie Khamis, a senior lecturer on media studies and consumer culture at the University of Technology Sydney, said the YouTube channel’s lack of follow-through with organizations against food waste made it “cheap.”

“He risks being identified with just that one gamble, or a kind of prank,” she told VICE World News.

“It's hard to take the campaign seriously, and have much faith in any future projects the YouTuber plans around this cause,” she added. 

The YouTuber acknowledged that there were many conflicting opinions about the purpose of his channel. But pointing to his platform’s growth in audience size, he said he had achieved his goal: making people fry their bacon with a pinch of gratitude.

Follow Hanako Montgomery on Twitter and Instagram.