The film Eating Animals is premiering in the UK at Screen on the Green in Angel, London. Produced and narrated by vegan Hollywood star Natalie Portman, the film follows the subject of how animals are abused in modern farming.
The film charts the rise of industrial factory farming that has largely put traditional farming methods out of business. Consumers who consume chicken nuggets and burgers, therefore, have no real sense of where that food actually came from. The further examines how food is produced and the impact this has on the food itself, the environment and of course the animals. These reasons are in themselves sufficient for why many choose to adopt a plant-based diet.
Counterproductive to be Holier Than Thou
The producer and author Jonathan Safran Foer reflected in an interview with Vanity Fair that “it’s just counterproductive to be holier than thou”. His intent is for the film to appeal to vegans and carnivores alike.
“We would talk about, what is the tone that will make this very difficult subject approachable? Because people are so disinclined to approach it, to willingly say, ‘I’m going to upset myself for 90 minutes. You’re gonna tell me this thing I love, it’s probably not good for me or anybody else.’”
So whilst the film adopts an anti-cruelty theme, the filmmakers worked hard to appreciate other perspectives.
According to the Vanity Fair piece, Portman is vegan, Foer describes himself as eating “as little meat as possible, which for me happens to be zero,” and Christopher Quinn, the director, eats meat.
The film concentrates much of its focus on particular farmers and innovators like Frank Reese, who are standing up against odds to factory farming with humane practices. whistleblowers like veterinarian James Keen,
The film also features James Keen, a whistleblower veterinarian who told The New York Times about animal mistreatment at a government laboratory.
The film offers achievable common sense solutions to the farming crisis. It makes the case that this is not merely an animal rights issue but also one that affects our day to day lives.
Eating Animals sets out to change the public discussion around industrial agriculture and the future of meat. Over five years in the making, the filmmakers have managed to capture a few stories that show both “small victories” and more often “common despairs”.
The filmmakers travelled across the USA and from India to China, Stockholm to Berlin, and beyond.