Meat the Truth

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Meat the Truth

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Meat the Truth is a documentary that  provides insight into one of the most overlooked contributions to global warming: the impact of factory farming on the environment. It attempts to fill the gap left by the 2006 Academy Award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which drew the attention of millions to the issue of global warming. As effective as Al Gore’s documentary was, it failed to mention the largest single contributor to the greenhouse gas effect.

On February 11, 2014, we showed Meat the Truth as part of our Eyes Wide Open film screening series to an audience of 79 at the central Vancouver Public Library.

Mary-Chris introduces the film to the audience at the Vancouver Public Library

Meat the Truth is presented by Marianne Thieme, who is the leader of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands. She set out to expose one of the most significant causes of climate change, intensive factory farming. The beginning of the film starts with interviews of passersby to obtain a sense of what the general public thinks are the main cause of climate change.

Cars. Factories. Aviation. Energy use. Gas. Power stations. Coal. These were causes repeatedly cited as the key culprits in climate change.

Pollution from industry, transportation, and residential energy use obvious contributors to climate change. However, the statistic for how much greenhouse gases are attributed to factory farming, 18%, drew gasps from the audience. The entire transportation industry is responsible for only 13%. The statistics are from the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)’s 2006 report that made one of the first links between intensive farming and climate change. For more information, read Livestock in a Changing Landscape on the FAO site.

Marianne Thieme poses the question several times through-out the Meat the Truth film. Why are we not aware of this? Why did one of the most compelling documentaries about climate change leave out what UN scientists have identified as the largest single contributor to climate change?

“If everyone in the United States ate a vegetarian diet for seven days, they would save around  seven hundred megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. That would be just the same removing  all of the cars in the USA off the roads.” (See carbon savings tables)

Only Al Gore could answer this question. However, Marianne Thieme included an interview with Howard Lyman, a career factory farmer turned vegan. Mr. Lyman suggested that critiquing the animal farming industry is bound to be met with resistance. In the interview, he noted that his appearance on Oprah, in which he talked about what he believed to be serious consequences of factory farming, was followed by a lawsuit made by cattle farmers.

The film demonstrates the consequences that intensive animal farming has on our environment and illustrates some of the impact that it has on animal welfare. It probably could have taken its examination of the consequences further, by looking more deeply into health issues and the magnitude of its impact on animals, but the film helps fill an important gap in the public awareness about global warming.

Darren and Liz answer questions from the audience after the film

It also shed little light on the dairy industry, and as one audience member pointed out, Marianne Thieme focussed on eating a vegetarian diet. She illustrated the impact that going vegetarian even one day week could make, but could have pointed out that a vegan diet would have even an greater impact as the dairy sector is also a significant part of the intensive farming industry.

If you are interested in viewing the film, it is available online at the Meat the Truth website.

Written by Sandra, posted by Willow .

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