I enjoy the show Mythbusters quite a bit. I like the contrasting personalities of the hosts, and I like the way they stress how the ultimate test of any theory is experiment. The constraints of a television show can somewhat restrain them, when it comes to being rigorous and showing their work, but it is obvious that there is more thinking (and math) that goes on in the background.
One aspect of the show I don’t fully approve of is their frequent use of animal products. They often use dead pigs as stand-ins for human beings, usually when testing myths about whether something would be deadly or not. They also use lard as a lubricant, and other animal products.
I don’t think it is always wrong for human beings to kill animals for their own purposes, but I do think there are many reasons to oppose factory farming and many reasons to use non-animal alternatives when possible. In that spirit, it seems to me that the Mythbusters could find analogues for human beings that didn’t have to be raised in the kind of conditions these pigs probably were. Also, it seems plausible that testing urban legends isn’t a sufficiently important purpose to justify the use of animal products, when there are reasonable alternatives available.
In the grand scheme of things, Mythbusters is a minute consumer of animal products. Fantastically larger quantities get consumed by human beings and other animals every day. That being said, the Mythbusters are role models within a certain community, and it might have a positive effect if they established a policy on the use of animal products that takes into account some of the ethical considerations involved.