Okja – Film Review

Okja.pngA soulless multinational company develops a giant pig which poops less and eats less than regular pigs while providing a greater volume of meat. The company sends a number of these super pigs to farmers all over the world to raise for ten years. One of them is sent to South Korea where the farmer’s daughter befriends the pig and when, inevitably, the pig is taken back to New York the girl is devastated and sets off on a rescue mission.

I really enjoyed it. It was funny in parts but also sad. The ALF (Animal Liberation Front) have a prominent role in several action scenes and they are all very well done. I don’t know all that much about the ALF in real life but in the film they were depicted as organised and well-resourced but slightly nuts. There was also some lovely scenery at the beginning of the film which was set in South Korea. It was directed by a South Korean writer/director, Joon-ho Bong.

Would it make a meat-eater question whether to eat bacon for breakfast? I don’t know. It has been so long since I ate bacon that I find the thought repulsive so I’m not the right person to ask. But I do think the film will challenge perceptions of factory farming and how we treat animals today. Towards the end of the film I was reminded of a quote by Nobel Prize winner, Isaac Bashevis Singer:

In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.

But there is reason to hope. We may see lab-grown meat available in stores as early as next year.

3 thoughts on “Okja – Film Review

  1. William Blake:

    The lamb abused breeds public strife
    And yet forgives the butcher’s knife

    The humorist Garrison Keillor recounts a story of visiting a relative’s pig farm as a boy. Being left alone, he amused himself by throwing stones at the pigs. His relative caught him and gave him a stern talking to. The gist of it was that we do exploit pigs, but we feed them, protect them and make them as comfortable as we can while they lived.

    My father was a sheep farmer who took this attitude to his sheepherd – he loved them in a strange way. Of course, modern factory farming is the negation of all that.

    1. Modern factory farming is probably part of the reason we have so many vegans today. It’s so dreadful that it’s turning people away from eating meat altogether. I come from a family of pig farmers and spent most of the summers of my childhood at the farm. It’s still operational today. Pigs on pig farms are not treated well.

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