Food Inc. – a review

September 17, 2009 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

I saw the movie Food Inc. at least a month ago.  It was a great movie at the same time it as disturbing to see. It reminded me of the time I learned of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in college.  I couldn’t finish reading it. My boyfriend did and he gave me an overview of it. I didn’t have to read it for a class, so this approach worked well enough for me. I know, cowardly. In both instances, both have stayed with me. A month later, the movie still resonates. I can’t drive by a farm and not smile when I see cows eating grass. It’s a great sight to see.

I admit, when it comes to animals, any animal, I have a really hard time with cruelty.  If I learn of any animal experiencing pain, neglect, or abuse, I cannot handle it and personally feel it.

In Food Inc., the movie talks about factory farming and how things have changed due to big business and consumer demand.  Chickens have been bred to be much larger than their legs can handle. Chicken farmers show footage how chickens can only take a step or two and then they plop down because their legs cannot handle their weight. It was sad to see. Many die under their own weight and their inability to get to the food to stay alive. They showed one farmer constantly going through to clear out the dead chickens. So very sad.  What was also amazing was the pressure by big business on the farmers, demanding changes in their chicken houses. The latest is that the houses must be completely dark – no light coming in at all.  One farmer refused to change her chicken house and because of it, her contract was terminated as was her source of income. Other farmers wouldn’t let cameras into their chicken houses to see what it was like for chickens to never see the light of day. They were warned not to; I guess their contracts were in jeopardy as well.

They showed the footage of the downed cows from California.  I still hate seeing that.  Doesn’t the risk of mad cow disease enter their minds? They also talk about cows being fed corn now instead of allowing them to graze in pastures,  to save space and to breed more cows. Cows are meant to eat grass not corn. So farmers have to manipulate their stomachs to reduce E.coli in their stomachs. They actually showed a farmer with his arm up to his elbow in the cows stomach. Really, this is what we have to do to raise cattle? I was impressed when they interviewed one farmer, Joel Salatin, who still has all of his animals doing what animals are supposed to. His cows graze in the pastures and explains how that is how it is meant to be and yes, then slaughtered for the world’s tables.  They showed him killing chickens and I had to turn away despite how humane he was being and how much more clean his process is compared to factory processing of chickens.

There were related topics in the movie, such as poor worker conditions and treatment, genetic engineering of seeds and how Monsanto has dominated this area of farming, and foodborne illnesses.

All in all, despite its many disturbing aspects, it is still very worthy of seeing. They premise that you will never look at food the same way again is very true. I rarely eat meat and haven’t in many years. But now I notice so much more about the food I eat and what I choose to buy. I have explored other means instead of Saturday morning farmers markets. I have researched what foods are actually in season so I don’t buy ones that have been genetically produced so we have them year round.  This is how much this movie affected the way I see food.

The movie will touch you differently as it did with my friends that I saw the movie with based on our discussions afterword.  That I think is the greatest benefit of all – that each of us looks at our relationship to food and determines what changes we want (or don’t) want to make. I hope you will see it, if you have the opportunity.

ADDENDUM – a note from HSUS today 09/17/09:

Denny’s does it. Burger King does, too. Wendy’s got on board earlier this year. All these major restaurant chains buy some (my note: wish it were ALL and not some) of their eggs from cage-free farms that don’t cruelly confine hens in barren battery cages.

But the restaurant chain most known for its breakfasts refuses to take this modest step. When IHOP serves its pancakes and eggs, you can be sure the eggs come from hens crammed into wire cages so small the animals can barely move for their entire lives.

IHOP’s refusal took on new urgency this week with the release of this undercover video that reveals shocking abuses at IHOP’s primary egg supplier. As you can see, the footage reveals filthy conditions, sick and injured hens, and birds forced to live in cages with the decomposing corpses of dead birds.

You can help to move IHOP away from this cruelty. Please urge IHOP to follow its competitors’ lead and start switching away from battery cage eggs. Here’s how:

Please make a brief, polite phone call to Argonne, a company that owns hundreds of IHOP restaurants, at 404-364-2984 (if voicemail picks up, press ‘1’ for Argonne President Michael Klump). You can say something like this:

“Hello, my name is [your name] and I am calling to ask IHOP to start using eggs that don’t come from hens crammed into cages. I just watched the undercover video of your egg supplier, and the images of animal cruelty are appalling. Please start switching to cage-free eggs. Thank you.”

I called. Will you?


Entry filed under: Miscellania, movies, pets, research, thoughts, well-being. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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