Eating Animals

eating_animals_xlgAdapted from the critically acclaimed 2009 book of the same name written by well-known author Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that delves into the issues surrounding large-scale factory farming of animals for human consumption. Narrated by vegan activist and Oscar winner Natalie Portman, the film provides a brief history of the early days of farming and how it evolved into an assembly line production mostly owned by such large corporations as Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms. Unlike many other environmentalist and vegan-promoting exposes, it provides a more nuanced view of the current state of animal farming by presenting interviews with a variety of farmers, including those adversely affected by working in the corporate realm and local conscientious farmers who are trying to bring back the old heritage methods of farming. Furthermore, the movie focuses on all of the implications that the mass production poultry and cattle industries has on humankind: the irresponsible dumping of animal byproducts and fertilizers that harm the environment, the corporate takeover of farms that harm the economic interests of the local farmer, and the public health hazards of consuming animals processed and filled with antibiotics. The documentary also features disturbing footage of the mistreatment of animals living in overcrowded and dangerous conditions and have become deformed as a result of practices promoting rapid growth and mass production. However, the purpose of the film is not just to encourage people to stop eating meat but to help inform the audience about ways to consume meat in a more responsible manner by purchasing from so-called heritage farms who care for the animals in a more traditional, healthy way. Overall, I found it to be an enlightening glimpse into the often unseen world of animal farming and a extremely important film that taught me that there are ways to be a more ethical meat consumer without becoming a vegetarian or vegan.

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