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August 2003
Alec Baldwin Narrates PETA’s Meet Your Meat: A Vegetarian’s Most Powerful Advocacy Tool Just Got Even Better

Film Review by Paul Shapiro

 

 

The overwhelming majority—in fact, about 98 percent—of the land animals killed each year in the United States are those raised for meat, milk, and eggs. Unfortunately, these same animals are also the least protected.

Despite the fact that farmed animals suffer and die by the billions every year, they are all excluded from protection under the Animal Welfare Act, more than 90 percent of them (birds) are exempted from the Humane Slaughter Act, and virtually no regulations whatsoever exist regarding their treatment on factory farms.

This isn’t to say regulations would render animal agribusiness free from criticism. It does, however, show that pretty much anything—yes, anything—goes when it comes to factory farming.

The enormity of the suffering caused by the meat, egg, and dairy industries is incredibly difficult to comprehend. Only by visiting a factory farm, livestock auction, or slaughterhouse can we begin to understand the misery endured by so many animals. Since it’s difficult to gain authorized access to these facilities, let alone convince our neighbors and colleagues to take a tour, how can we most convincingly show the public why so many people are choosing to be vegetarian?

Fortunately, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has, once again, made animal advocacy even easier with its latest version of Meet Your Meat—the most powerful vegetarian advocacy tool that exists, in my mind.

Narrated by actor Alec Baldwin, the new video shows footage (much of it undercover) of abusive yet standard practices within animal agribusiness. The 12-minute documentary systematically chronicles what happens to each of the most exploited species within the animal industries. For anyone who doesn’t know where the meat, eggs, and dairy stocking our grocery stores come from, this video is the perfect rude awakening.

Whether it’s egg-laying hens confined in cages so tightly they can’t flap their wings, calves at livestock auctions too young and weak to even walk, pigs confined in crates so narrow they can’t turn around, or cattle being branded and later slaughtered, Meet Your Meat makes no attempt to spare viewers the grim reality of animal production. For many, seeing what really goes on behind the scenes was just what they needed to kick the meat habit and choose vegetarianism.

One high school student attendee from a presentation I recently gave e-mailed me: “I always felt bad that eating meat meant animals had to die, but I had no idea how horrible their lives were, too! The video shocked me into being vegetarian, and now that I’ve got good recipes and nutritional information, I’m never going back.”

If that student’s review isn’t enough to convince you of the powerful effectiveness of PETA’s video, the faces of viewers who watch Meet Your Meat on Compassion Over Killing’s FaunaVision van every Thursday and Friday night in Washington, DC are all the evidence needed to demonstrate why the video is the best advocacy tool we have.

We have been showing the previous version on the streets of DC for a few years now, and although we thought that was fantastic, the new version is many times better. Whether clad in business suits or cut-off shorts, passersby are pulled in by Meet Your Meat’s narration, and the scenes of routine animal cruelty keep them in front of the screen as they bear witness to the result of our taste for animal products. If you have the previous version, please replace it with this one.

If you have a group, please consider buying the video and/or DVD in bulk and selling it to raise money for your group. You can download the video for free, get a two-hour loop to show at tables, or order it on video or DVD for just $5, at MeetYourMeat.com. Tabling with this video and some pamphlets for passersby is as valuable a way to spend an evening as I can imagine, and you most likely have much of what you need already—TV, VCR, table—all you need is a battery or generator! PETA has details for how to do this on the Meet Your Meat site.

Also, PETA offers both the video and DVD for free to any video store or library that requests them on letterhead, so if you’re friendly with a video store owner or librarian, please encourage them to take advantage of this free offer.

No video does a better job of giving an overview of the worst standard practices within animal agribusiness, and this new, narrated version is even better than previous ones! If you haven’t yet seen it, watch it. If you haven’t yet shown it to all of your friends and family, there’s no better time than now. The animals need all the help they can get, as Meet Your Meat clearly demonstrates.

Paul Shapiro is the campaigns director for Compassion Over Killing (COK.net). You can watch and order Meet Your Meat at MeetYourMeat.com.

 


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