Mercy for Animals’ latest film, Farm to Fridge, was released today. The 12-minute film depicts some of the most heinous treatment that animals raised for food routinely face, and is narrated by vegan actor James Cromwell. Hot on the heels of undercover investigations that have exposed horrific animal cruelty on egg, dairy, and veal farms, fish slaughtering facilities, and poultry slaughterhouses, Farm to Fridge gives viewers a total picture of the egregiously cruel state of animal agriculture. VegNews talked with MFA Founder and Executive Director Nathan Runkle about the film.
VegNews: What sets it apart from the undercover footage MFA has already publicized?
Nathan Runkle: Farm to Fridge is a silver bullet—it covers the treatment of animals exploited by the pork, beef, dairy, egg, poultry, and seafood industries, all in 12 unforgettable minutes. The film utilizes footage from all of MFA’s past undercover investigations, and gives a powerful look at the entire journey each animal makes from birth to death.
VN: How did the partnership with James Cromwell come about?
NR: James was our first choice to narrate the film. In addition to being an Academy Award-nominee and seasoned actor, he is an ethical vegan, a dedicated, sincere, and passionate animal-rights advocate, and has an incredibly impactful voice. We approached James about this project and he eagerly jumped onboard. We are so thrilled and grateful to be partnering with him.
VN: What’s your best-case-scenario, dream result of this film?
NR: Our goal is to have the film viewed at least 1 million times in the next 12 months. We hope that everyone who sees the film will share it with at least 10 of their friends, and so on. Each person who is inspired to go vegan by this film translates into thousands of animals, over their lifetime, spared the horrors exposed in Farm to Fridge.
VN: Why make this particular film right now?
NR: There is no doubt that our nation’s treatment of farmed animals is a growing topic of concern and focus for more and more Americans. However, few people know the graphic details of how cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and fish truly live, and die, before reaching their plates. We felt the time was right to elevate the discussion and produce a film that didn’t shy away or sugarcoat the true cost of meat, dairy and eggs. Most people care about animals and simply wouldn’t support the sheer brutality perpetrated every moment on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, if they knew about it. However, few people know how animals are intensively confined, mutilated without painkillers, cruelly beaten, and violently slaughtered. Farm to Fridge serves as a wake-up call to the fact that modern animal agriculture is out of step with most Americans’ core values, and that immediate change is desperately needed.
VN: What moment in the film do you think will surprise people the most?
NR: There are so many shocking moments in the film because, quite frankly, our treatment of farmed animals is shocking. Not a single federal law provides protection to farmed animals during their lives on factory farms—meaning that billions of these animals are subjected to abuses so extreme that meat, egg, and dairy producers could be jailed if they treated dogs or cats in the same manner. I think some of the most surprising moments of the film are standard practices on factory farms—practices considered acceptable and legal in most states—such as: piglets having their testicles ripped out of their bodies and their tails chopped off without painkillers; male chicks ground up alive in giant macerators; and fish being skinned and dismembered while still alive, conscious and suffering.
VN: Do you think that there’s been an uptick in the horrible treatment of animals in the last few years, or are we just beginning to discover horrific practices that have long been industry standards?
NR: Mercy For Animals is dedicated to serving as the eyes and ears of the public who are kept largely in the dark about how “food animals” are treated. Quite simply, these animals have no watchdogs—the meat, dairy, and egg industries cannot be trusted to self-regulate, and the government has neither the tools, resources, nor motivation to oversee these facilities—so it’s up to organizations like MFA to expose these abuses. Sadly, the abuse farmed animals endure is nothing new. Factory farming values profit over principle in the ever-increasing race to reduce costs and increase revenue. In the end, animals are left to pay the ultimate price—a life of extreme deprivation and suffering. As long as farmed animals are viewed and treated as mere commodities, whose sole function is to produce as much meat, milk and eggs as possible, exploitation and abuse will run rampant. We will continue pointing our hidden cameras at these morally bankrupt industries, exposing the hidden horrors farmed animals endure. I’m confident that once more Americans see for themselves the truth behind modern animal agriculture, they will choose to withdraw their support and embrace a healthy and compassionate vegan diet.
Want more of today’s best plant-based news, recipes, and lifestyle?
Get our award-winning magazine!