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Book Review: Mercy For Animals

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to start this review for nearly 30-45 minutes now. You see, I’ve read the book from cover to cover once already and started it again to try to pull out parts that I want to share. The problem is I’m nearly 100 pages in again and am having a hard time putting it down long enough to type this.

Nathan’s story is gripping not only because of the experiences he shares, both harrowing and courageous, but because of the compassion from where that story generates. Whether it’s from the beginning of the book and his recounting of his childhood on the family farm or to the undercover investigations he has been a part of; the narration exudes benevolence and pulls you in from the moment you start reading.

There are beings that roam this earth that shine light wherever they go. Some believe those beings are angels or Bodhisattva’s. Suffice it to say, Nathan is surely one of those people. With careful intention, he built an organization that is selfless and has one goal; to save as many animals as possible. What I think makes them different though is the seemingly minor things they do like push for more space for chickens and hens in cages and crates. It’s about pushing for more humane conditions for animals that are already part of our shameful “food supply chain”. Mercy For Animals pushes for those little things because with small steps come bigger one’s.

Speaking of “bigger one’s”…

I have not followed MFA over the years so this book opened my eyes to one of the major breakthroughs they had; and that was with Nestlé. Through tireless investigations and work MFA were able to get Nestlé to commit to the “Five Freedoms Of Animal Welfare” which are:

  1. Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition
  2. Freedom from fear and distress
  3. Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort
  4. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  5. Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior

Nestlé did this on their own after being shown evidence of just how horrific their supply chains were and how despicable the animals were treated. The company was absolutely floored by the documentation they were shown. But, they swore to implement changes and that is amazing.

The fact of the matter is, Nathan Runkle lives and breathes his convictions. There is no denying that.

I walk away from this book with not only a deeper understanding of what it means to be an animal activist, but how to be one. Nathan’s story can, and will, inspire even the most apathetic individual.

He also touches on the future of the movement and the future of food. It’s a promising future and I hope to do what I can to help make that happen. You really need to read this book, I can’t tell you that enough.

Mercy For Animals Links
Website: https://www.mercyforanimals.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mercyforanimals/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MercyForAnimals
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mercyforanimals

Okja; Animal Rights goes CGI

I watched this last night on Netflix and was amazed at how well the message of animal rights, and the film-makers antipathy toward factory farming, was portrayed. The story-line was extremely well written and as a viewer, you felt every emotion along with the main character, Mija.

The film starts with a kick-off party scene of a major corporate company (Mirando Corporation) launching a new “product”. They’ve chosen 26 farmers across the world to raise a new super pig over a span of ten years, the “winner” will be flown back to the US to celebrate the “best pig”. One of the super pigs, Okja, is sent to South Korea to be raised by a farmer and his grand-daughter, Mija.

Okja, a hippo sized pig hybrid, is a kind and compassionate animal; as most are. The viewer is treated to beautiful interactions between Okja and Mija as they climb the mountainside together and even curl up at night to sleep. Bong Joon Ho, the films mastermind, does a phenomenal job creating the relationship not only with the characters, but with the viewer and the characters.

Soon after being introduced to the Okja and Mija, Mirando Corp shows up to claim their “property” as Okja has been chosen as the best pig. What plays out next is a roller coaster of emotion. We are introduced to a small group of ALF (Animal Liberation Front) activists who, astonishingly, are not depicted as eco-terrorists but as rescuers/ guardians for Okja and Mija.

Without ruining a ton more of the film, there is one scene I’d love to point out and that’s where Okja has to be saved from a farm. We know about the 26 super pigs that were sent out across the globe but what we weren’t told is that others were also being raised to be part of the food system. Okja had been brought to a gigantic processing plant and you can hear the screams and cries of other super pigs as Mija and the ALF crew try to find Okja and save her.

The CGI and cinematography are top rate. Okja is a masterpiece, truly. The imagery is beautiful, whimsical and as visually appealing as you can get. The production is absolutely amazing and the locations for filming were absolutely stunning.

You will cry, this movie is sad. That is no reason to not watch it though, it’s necessary and I think, better yet hope, that you will view it with friends. Is it kid friendly? Minus some language it is completely kid friendly, I’d let my boys watch it and they are 9 and 13 years old.

Check out the trailer below or just fire up your Netflix account and watch this tonight!