Ever more savagery & sickness! – it’s the American meat industry, & more specifically as it accounts for 99% of the market – the industrialized standard, intensive factory farming, mega dairies & concentrated animal feeding operations. Disgusting? Cruel? Sick? All the above toots.
These miserable & frightening, confined, high-density disease-strongholds that produce an astronomic quantity of excrement, chemical & urinal waste (which ends up in the air soil & rivers with extremely adverse effects on local & even distant populations). oh my god! – the fucking Americans! & this time its not some poor rice-paddy farmer over in South Asia or some gortsy trying to mind his goats in the Kush range, no its poor Americans themselves having fecal matter sprayed over their funerals all so some idiot can eat cheap, shit, adulterated, below sub-quality bacon & contract bowel cancer for the benefit of the pharmaceutical & medical industries vulture vaults. The most dirty, disastrous & vicious of cycles, all playing out without government objection.
This is a superb doc, slotting in amongst the horror section of Food Inc, What the Health, Cowspiracy The World According to Monsanto, Our Daily Bread, the Genetic Roulette & other shockers. Up to date & probing facets that were untouched by its predecessors, the central topic is the historical & modern history of US meat production & the latter’s extremely serious, current environmental consequences & collateral (rather than the even more grave & urgent implications for adverse climate mutation from the pollutants & emissions associated). The infamous Duplin County, North Carolina, the “excrement & urine capital of the world” (& probably also the world’s largest concentration of waste-based, liquefied antibiotics), is a focal feature. This is one of the US’s greatest scandals & health hazards & a strident example of how totally & utterly out-of-control the meat sector has become in the US with the government complicit in this repulsive criminal madness. A senior citizen recalls how decades ago, the Trent river was clean, healthy & abundant with fish. As the large-scale hog farms proliferated, the fish began to develop sores & mutations (the sores eventually spread to the fishermen themselves) along with a series of mass fish die-offs, with scores of dead, tissue-wound plastered fish carcasses floating on the river. It was left to the public to document as federal & national authorities did fuck-all whilst local people were contaminated, the toxic water left to float further down & poison more Americans.
Of the small & versatile passel of whistleblowers, farmers & activists that contribute the core members of cast, the dude that remains the most vivid is the industrial chicken farmer Craig Watts. Fast talking, straight-up & with a razor humour, the guy embodies both hick stereotypes with a sharp-sapience & brings some brilliant dialogue & character to the film. Entrapped by America’s largest commercial chicken juggernaut Purdue Farms, a nightmare corporate supplier of ‘dirt’ cheap chicken, Craig has spiraled into debt, paranoia, insecurity & bondage (“serfdom” as he calls it) as have so many other US farmers. As with GM crops, Purdue pit farmers against each other with a competitive reward & sanction quota system that leads to utter disunity between farmers. Divide & rule, exploit & bleed. Craig was spurred into disclosing the obscenity of the industry’s on the ground reality after watching a TV propaganda commercial for Purdue farms boasting about the companies “transparency”. It was the last fucking straw & he went public with the multiple abominations of the disgusting trade & its toll on the producers. He takes us through his humungous sheds, showing & recounting some of the horrendous mutations & medical abnormalities of the sick & deformed (& these are not even the intentionally malformed GM species) birds that regularly die due to their physical & environmental conditions which are truly’ truly grotesque in the extreme.
If only that were the worst of it. I was unaware of the institution – the US Meat Animal Research Center or MARC. It is a series of huge scientific bunkers & complexes in Nebraska that operate to “maximize meat production”. During World War Two, they were ammo & munitions storage facilities which were then transferred to the USDA. This foreboding irony is heading into very sinister territory. Its like something out of Operation Paper Clip (& we are only given a sliver), a kind of mad-scientist death-camp for animals, carrying out perverse experiments…. exceedingly disturbing stuff that needs to be stopped & outlawed with expedient immediacy. No ifs, no buts, no nothing! – this is insane.
Very importantly, the nullification of antibiotics is also addressed. & how could it not be, as the massive majority of US antibiotics (something like 90%) are expended on factory farming, which is then discharged straight into the water, air or land causing bacteria to potentize, which will soon secure their immunity from antibiotics, with monumentally disastrous effects for modern medicine. The livestock are so unhealthy, confined in such poor & unnatural conditions & in a densely incarcerated environment that is perfect for disease & virology ebullition, that they must be showered with dangerously excessive quantities of pharmaceutical drugs & antibiotics to prevent massive contagion. This of course is creating super bugs & viral immunity…it is just a matter of time & nothing more. The global Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 infected one third of the world’s population & killed 25 million people in a 25 week killing spree. It was spread around the world predominantly by shipping. can you imagine the ease of outbreak, in our shitty, instantaneous, hyper-connected & all pervasive modern world with most populations having far weaker immune resilience than their 19th century predecessors. It will be a necessary massacre. Clean & quite. & it will be deserved, as all the warning signs are there, in bold print, embossed & flashing in neon red! If its ignored, or acquiesced to, & the lunatics in government & there corporate conspirators are allowed to maintain this indescribable criminal madness, then it will be a necessary if not welcome evil to shut this fucking insanity down. I for one will not be dying so some shit-eater can cram their face with chicken nuggets.
An expressly urgent & excellent documentary, made even more spectacular given the Brexit nadir, ineffable Tory treason & the Chump Disintegration’s “UK USA trade deal” miasma that’s actually being touted as a legitimate possibility.
Christopher Quinn, 2019, Heretic Films