Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Inc - A Documentary Review

WARNING: If you like eating at McDonald's, if you like eating processed food, and you don't want to know anything about where you food comes from - STOP reading now!

Our whole family watched the documentary Food Inc this past week. This film is based on the book by the same title. The author of the book asks the question, "Where does our food come from?" And, the answer is about enough to make you consider becoming vegetarian!

First, he looks at the meat chicken industry. Viewers get to see the horrid confinement conditions that these poor chickens live in. I cried. The chickens have been grown manufactured in such a way that they are so top-heavy that they cannot hardly walk! That is not the worst of it... but I can't tell you everything.

On next to other animals:
- Hogs - don't even ask... the way the animals are treated is bad, but the way the illegal immigrants who work in the meat-packing plants is worse! I cried. I question whether or not I should have allowed my children to watch this film, because it is truly hard core. And, there are parts within the meat-packing plants that I am glad that the children did not understand.
- Cattle - This industry just about made me heave! From start to finish... it is just so industrialized! Our world is in such a sorry state, that we can turn life into an industry.

And, speaking of putting a patent on life... the next portion of the film took a look at Monsanto. (I write from central MO, and there are a lot of Monsanto employees around me. If you feel that I have been misinformed, you are welcome to leave me a comment or send me a personal email.) I was truly saddened by some of the practices of the seed industry. But, after watching this film, I am even more certain that we will be purchasing heirloom seed in the future. AND, I am SO glad that we are not going to be large scale farmers that have to worry about law suits. ("What kind of law suits," you ask? WATCH the film!)

Overall, I was just saddened by the way our world works (well, at least the way America works. The film focuses on our country). The film talks a lot about buying organic and locally grown foods, and I am all for that! However, we are a poor family. So, even after watching this film there is very little we can do to "change the world."

That brings me to my next point - This film contains some spiritual, political, and social content that might need to be explained to young children. There is a LOT of talk about evolution. Also there is one organic farmer who does not appreciate capitalism - some how he thinks it to be part of the problem. And, as for socio-political issues, the illegal immigrant situation looks a whole lot like modern day slavery!

One last personal thought - When I say that I cried over the treatment of the animals, I do not want you thinking that I am on board with animal rights (you know, where they have more rights than humans - especially more rights than the unborn humans!). I was upset because we humans were put in authority over the animals, it is part of our being made in the likeness of God!
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NASB)
I cry, because we have so marred what it means to be in authority! Yes, I eat meat. Yes, I want to grow my own meat. And, yes, I understand that some animal will die for my meal. I get that. But, I think we can find a balance of eating the animals and taking care of them!

But, more important than the treatment of animals is the treatment of humans. And, this film documented some horrible treatment of immigrants from Mexico. What hurts me is that these folks are being bribed to come across illegally by a company who later sells them out! We are treating these humans, (who are created equal - yes - but should not be given equal access to our "system") worse than the animals who they are hired to process... and that is saying a lot!

I don't want a debate to break out over illegal aliens, whether or not Christians should eat pork, whether or not we should eat GMOs, etc. I will erase comments that use inappropriate language. Keep it clean. Keep it kind.


April said...


I don't want to say we "enjoyed" Food, Inc., because...ew. Some of it was pretty disturbing. But some of what we already knew was reaffirmed, and we learned some new things. We felt that there was a definite bias and agenda in the film, but overall, we agreed with that agenda. (As a side note, we obviously don't agree with the theory of evolution. But one can still take the principle of what they're saying and appreciate it--basically, cow's didn't "evolve" to eat grass--God made them that way. But either way, we are going against the way they were designed.) (Another side note--even though we should not esteem animals as more important than humans, and even though we should not honor someone's breaking of the law, injustice should always bother us. It was convicting to me that you are sensitive enough to injustice for it to make you cry. I often find that I have become so hardened to it--so comfortable and used to this world that I often fail to see its brokenness. Thanks for the reminder!)

Have you read the book "Real Food" by Nina Planck? I will warn you--she talks about evolution as well. (I just take the principle of what she's saying and know in my mind and heart that it is God's design she's talking about, whether she realizes it or not). Anyway, what I liked about it was that it wasn't just informative about what's wrong with the system, though it does go into that. But I felt like this book was much more solution-oriented and positive. It was very scientific, but in a very readable, non-textbook sort of way.

Sorry for taking over your comment window--didn't realize I was going to write a novel! lol

NYLass said...

I want to begin my comment by clarifying - I have not watched Food, Inc..
I pray that this comment be a blessing - if it is not PLEASE DISREGARD IT. I wish to offend no one - and am merely praying that it is God that is urging me so strongly to comment and not my flesh.

There was a film years ago (1970 something?) about the meat packaging industry - it is why I will never taste veal and have had trouble with ALL pork and beef -- I did not stay and watch the parts about chicken or I would be a vegetarian. I sobbed during what I did see for the exact reasons you have mentioned above, Beth. Because of that film, I viewed the meat industry like the southern cotton and tobacco industries years ago: they allow the ends to justify unspeakable means. Part of what lead me to choose organic and or local natural is this film. For the record our family does eat beef, pork and chicken (I still will not have anything to do with veal, though)

Beth, I think you're on the right track with homesteading. For our family, though I think that as with many things I have found that it's not something I can just figure out and put in a box as "DONE". As with our salvation, (IMHO) we all need to continually "work out" what God would have us do, encouraging each other and showing as much grace and mercy as we can, not just to others but also to ourselves.

The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but [he that is] cruel troubleth his own flesh. Proverbs 11:17

You have choices, Thank GOD! But for me that means having to daily be dependent to God. I don't like not figuring something out and getting to stick to "THAT" (whatever "THAT" maybe). When missionaries come to this country they are shocked by how many choices we have and how overwhelming that is. Conversely, it shocked me last summer to see what Mennonites and Amish feel the "freedom" to eat (dyed foods, processed sweets and baking products, TONS of refined, white sugar). They had freedom... and were some of the healthiest people (from what I saw, as a whole) that I've seen in a VERY long time.

Now, PLEASE, I'm not saying we should all switch to eating all that, but instead be merciful to ourselves as we walk this journey.

Regarding the movie Food, Inc., or the movie that I saw years ago, or the books we have mentioned: I personally have had to submit all that I saw to the Creator of all that is and ask what He wants (present tense) me to know from this film that was NOT made for my spiritual or (again IMHO) physical benefit, but instead in judgment of an industry that does indeed needs to change its ways.

I pray peace to all who read this and blessings as we each work out our salvation and seek Him who created us.

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

Thanks for your thoughts! Once I recover from Food Inc., I will look for the book you mentioned. (half joking)

I found nothing wrong with your comment. I found it encouraging. You are absolutely right that we need to say, "OK, Lord, what do I do what this?"
And, you are right, too - that in my family we see homesteading (raising our own animals, etc) as a good solution. But, this will not work for everyone. Your family (as you have mentioned before) eats a lot of organic food - which is not at all a solution for my family (unless we grow it ourselves).
So, yeah, it's all about taking this new knowledge and using it as God would have you to.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.