'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated' - Mahatma Gandhi
In 2010 I saw the documentary 'Food Inc.' at BAFTA - a deeply unflattering look inside America's corporate-controlled food industry and its knock-on effects to the country's farmers and the health of its citizens. The film showed that the Big Food corporations put their vast profits way above a nation’s health and that this is happening on a global basis.
A year later I met Tracy Worcester who produced the acclaimed and widely broadcast documentary 'Pig Business'. Now in 21 languages and 7 country-specific versions, it highlights the horrors associated with modern industrial-scale pig production. She continues to make films through her campaign Farms Not Factories, to raise awareness about the rise of factory pig farming, a system which abuses animals, pollutes the environment, threatens human health through dangerous overuse of antibiotics and wrecks rural communities. Her solution is to urge consumers to 'turn their nose up' at pig factories and only buy meat from high animal welfare farms.
Tracy has many powerful supporters across the world so I was honoured when she asked me to be one of her Ambassadors, but more importantly it is a cause I feel passionate about. We are what we eat and a healthy body is part of making life grand. So, being aware of what we feed our bodies and how that food is produced is of prime importance. We think with our bodies, so what goes on in the inside shows on the outside. Feeding your body the best primal foods possible heals your body better than any drugs! Food is not just for the taste buds, it is for nourishing every cell in your body. If you eat junk, you're going to look and feel like junk and be ill. Your body needs healthy fuel to feel great. I wish the simplicity of this message could be taught in more schools. At least thanks to Jamie Oliver, a difference has begun to be made...
Farms Not Factories is currently creating a short film with enlightened celebrities to highlight the utter horror that is taking place in animal factories. The celebrities ask people to follow their lead to #TurnYourNoseUp at pig factories. About 30 celebrities have made selfies and are sending them out via their social media platforms to encourage people to show the film and only buy meat from high animal welfare farms.
The factory farming footage that I have seen should make each and every one of us hang our heads in shame - horrors are taking place on a global scale. However, until I saw these images I was not aware of this and wonder how many of us are? If a nation is judged by the way it treats its animals - then we are inhumane. Every time you buy factory-farmed pork you're funding the torture of these animals as follows:
- The overcrowded, inhumane way these animals are bred on cold concrete, barren slatted floors, creates breeding grounds for diseases. A great many sows live and feed their piglets in steel cages, so narrow that they cannot turn around, let alone nurture their young.
- Piglets’ tails are cut off without any painkillers and their front teeth are broken to prevent stress-induced cannibalism.
- Animal factories sicken local residents and damage wildlife with toxic stench from a cocktail of gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. Yet these animals breathe in and spend their lifetime in these conditions. Nobody would want to eat meat that has been bred this way and through such cruelty.
- The animals have to be given antibiotics routinely to keep them alive in the overcrowded, contagious conditions. This leads to antibiotic-resistant diseases which pass to humans, bringing us closer to the end of antibiotics as a cure for human diseases. This is a moral outrage.
The more I got involved in Tracy's campaign the more I became aware of the importance of buying food that was produced from family farmers who look after their animals. Together we can close these inhumane factories by only buying pork with the high welfare labels, RSPCA Assured, Outdoor Bred, Free Range or - best of all - Organic. To cover the extra cost, we can choose less popular cuts and reduce our meat intake; thereby reducing the risk of obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Tracy's use of celebrities to help spread the word is invaluable. A visual image can exercise and empower peoples' moral conviction - we hope this campaign will do just that - watch this video.
With thanks and much appreciation.
'Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet' - Albert Einstein