Industrial Agriculture: The Truth About Where Your Meat Comes From

Land of Hope and Glory UK Earthlings Documentary

Surge (2017)

Film Review

This is a documentary about the brutal conditions under which factory farmed animals are raised in the UK, Australia and the US. This type of footage is extremely rare because Food Inc makes every effort to conceal the disgusting conditions under which our meat is produced.

Factory farmed pigs and chickens seem to fare the worst. Even though pigs are as intelligent and emotionally complex as dogs, they are raised in extremely confining cages and forced to lie in their own feces, as well as being routinely tortured and beaten by their keepers. Pigs, like most other factory farmed animals, are fed massive doses of antibiotics (contributing to antibody resistance and the rise of “superbugs”) while continual exposure to feces makes factory farmed meat a major source of food borne illness.

Chickens and more than 90% of ducks and turkeys are also crowded into pens. In chickens raised for meat, 45% suffer painful fractures because their specially bred bodies are too heavy for their skeleton.

What seems most consistent among all factory farmed animals (besides their continual exposure to feces) are the inhumane conditions under which they are killed. Although most jurisdictions require them to be asphyxiated or electrically stunned prior to slaughter, abattoir personnel are rushed and poorly trained. As the film clearly shows, many animals are still alive when they’re butchered.


New Zealand: Polluted Paradise

New Zealand: Polluted Paradise

Directed by Naashon Zalk (2017)

This documentary is about the extreme degradation of New Zealand rivers and streams, regarded by many environmentalists as the most contaminated in the world.* The international OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development blames this country water contamination on dairy intensification subsidized by the government’s free irrigation scheme. In a country of 4.5 million people, dairy cows produce as much effluent as 90 million people. All this directly contradicts the “100% Pure” image promoted by New Zealand’s tourism industry.

The problem is aggravated by a fair amount of government corruption, which the film documents. For example, in 2010 the New Zealand government sacked the democratically elected Canterbury Regional Council when they opposed an intensive government irrigation project in a region totally unsuitable to dairying due to poor soil and low rainfall. The Council was replaced by government-appointed commissioners who implemented the irrigation project.

*Every year over 45,000 New Zealanders have their tap water contaminated with animal feces. In 2016 5,000 residents of Hawke’s Bay became seriously ill with feces-related pathogens.