If you haven't seen this documentary, you must. It came out in 2017, but I only just watched it this week and it has really opened up my eyes to the grotesque ways of the meat industry, and has motivated me to go full vegan, or at the very least eating less and better meat. I know that sometimes as soon as someone hears that a documentary has turned someone vegan, an automatic resistance is turned on. But trust me...this is worth a watch so you know what you're actually putting into your body and how it is affecting your health as well as the health of communities suffering as a result of mass produced meat. This post isn't about me trying to convince everyone to go vegan, but I hope more people will consider avoiding mass produced meat, and instead support ethical and sustainable farms.
For a while now, I've been more conscious of consuming less meat, and when I do buy meat or fish, buying from brands that support ethical and sustainable farms.
However, this documentary opened my eyes to two issues I hadn't put as much thought into--health and human rights.
In general, we probably all know that eating too much meat is not great for our health--particularly red meat. However, I think most of us have always been told that we need meat because we need protein. The reason for this documentary starts off with health, and it debunks the notion that we need meat in our diet.
That message has been honed into us thanks to the meat lobby, who buys its way into even our trusted health organizations, to deliver that message to us.
One example given in this documentary, that I found very interesting, was that we're always told sugar causes diabetes; but in fact, that's false. More detrimental to our health is meat, because the fat from the meat sticks to our own fat, blocking the way sugar and carbs are processed in our body. Hopefully I summed that up well, but that's the gist of what the research and experts said. Mind you, this is not to say we can now all go crazy with sugar.
The documentary also features several persons with serious and multiple health problems. Just like many of us, our doctors prescribe us medication, and for many people like those featured in the documentary, they take multiple medications, every day, for the rest of their lives--high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
What was really remarkable, was the story of one woman who could barely walk and breath, spent years seeing doctors, taking meds, and finally, she went on a plant-based diet for 14 days and was done with her meds. 14 days! That's it. She no longer needed her meds. To me, that's incredible. I mean, it's almost difficult to believe; but at the same time, knowing all the factors affecting the quality and edibility of our meat makes her story believable.
You'll have to watch the documentary for yourself to hear all the eye-opening health related stories.
Human Rights Issues
When we talk about consuming meat, we oft talk about animal cruelty. What we don't oft hear about are the human rights issues surrounding mass meat production. The documentary takes us to a small town in North Carolina, a mostly Black, low-income community, where an industrial hog farm wreaks havoc on everyone's health. From babies to seniors, it seems everyone in that town has either asthma and/or cancer, thanks to the pollution of the hog farm and its surrounding waste lagoons.
Every so often, a hurricane floods the area sending dead hogs, chickens, turkeys, and their waste everywhere. But even when there aren't hurricanes, the lagoons pool and get into creeks, streams, and watersheds.
So beyond the horrific environmental wreckage these industrial hog farms cause, they're also causing severe health problems in the people of the communities living near these hog farms. And these hog farms disproportionately affect communities of color. It's truly horrific.
As I mentioned, after watching this I felt ready to go full vegan. But there are companies that source their meats from small sustainable farms. So, I think that at the very least, we should reduce the amount of meat we eat and eat better meat--eat meat that comes from farms that are committed to ethical and sustainable practices.
Our family subscribes to Imperfect Foods, and they make it really easy to know and trust where your meat comes from, partnering only with brands that share the same values and practices that see people and planet treated with respect.
On top of that, I always look up the brands and see what they say about who they are and their values. The more transparency, the more trust.
Have you watched this documentary?
How do you feel about the thought of reducing the amount of meat you eat? Is it something you'd consider? Or do you think we're full of bologna?
Share your thoughts in the comments.