Late last month the much-anticipated new action-adventure movie Okja debuted on Netflix. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last month, stars Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal and is giving viewers some serious food for thought. The film follows a young girl, Mija, as she fights to save her best friend, a “superpig named Okja, from the powerful Mirando Corporation, which wants to turn her into food.
Unfortunately, the cruel conditions depicted in Okja are far from fictional. Here are six things you should know about pig farming today:
1. Many pigs are kept in extreme confinement.
The pork industry’s use of gestation crates, which keep pigs immobilized, is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence. In fact, these crates are so cruel they’ve been banned in nine states and the entire European Union.
2. Piglets are mutilated without painkillers.
Piglets are taken from their mothers when they’re as young as 10 days old. After having their tails cut off, their teeth clipped, and their testicles ripped out without painkillers, they’re packed into filthy, overcrowded pens.
3. Baby pigs are killed in horrific ways.
Piglets who are too sick or who aren’t growing fast enough are gruesomely killed. Many are slammed headfirst onto concrete floors, and others are tossed into overcrowded gassing carts where they slowly suffocate from carbon dioxide.
4. Pigs receive little to no veterinary care.
As countless Mercy For Animals investigations have documented, many pigs are left to suffer from open wounds, serious injuries, and infections without proper veterinary care. As long as factory farmers prioritize profit over animal welfare, animals will pay the price.
5. No federal laws protect pigs during their lives at factory farms.
Unfortunately, no federal law protects animals during their lives at factory farms. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act pertains to cows and pigs only at the slaughterhouse, providing zero protection to them for most of their lives. Sadly, this means the meat industry is legally allowed to abuse billions of farmed animals in ways that would warrant felony animal cruelty charges if the victim were just one dog or cat.
6. Pigs are subjected to a ruthless slaughter.
Multiple investigations by MFA into government-owned slaughterhouses across Mexico exposed animals being painfully shocked, bludgeoned, strung upside down, stabbed, and cut open—all while still conscious and able to feel pain.
Pigs are considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—even more intelligent than dogs—and can play video games with more focus and success than chimps! Despite this, factory farmers treat them as meat-producing machines.
Each of us can take a stand for animals, the environment, and our own health by ditching pork and other animal products. For a list of delicious vegan bacon recipes, click here.