The power of film can be truly inspiring and thought-provoking, even in the case of a film that runs barely more than 10 minutes. Recently in Salt Lake City, Mercy for Animals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the word on the abuse of farm animals, wrapped up a three-month national bus tour in which it presented its film Farm to Fridge in more than 40 different cities nationwide. The film, consisting of content filmed mostly within the past three years, is extremely graphic in its presentation of the treatment of farm animals and the slaughtering process—which is exactly the point.
Phil Letten, who works as a campaign coordinator with Mercy for Animals and has traveled the country presenting Farm to Fridge to the public, says reaction to the film has been incredible: “It’s surpassed my expectations, and made me very optimistic about the future.” Using a large truck as a mount, Farm to Fridge is presented on an 80-inch flat screen. Volunteers also wander the streets wearing shirts that have iPads built into them screening the film. This unique way of presenting information to the public is a quick attention-getter to a film that shows such graphic abuse that TV networks can’t air it.
By sending undercover crews in dressed as maintenance workers, Mercy for Animals captured images of egregious animal abuse, most of which is standard practice, almost immediately upon entry into farm-animal factories. According to Letten, there are no federal laws protecting farm animals, even though national polls have shown that over 90 percent of the public believe that all animals should have legal protection. Statistics like this and others like it (19,000 domesticated land animals are slaughtered for food in the United States every minute is a pretty unnerving one) are enough for some to turn to vegetarianism, but witnessing a film with content like Farm to Fridge's is the final deciding point for many. Letten says he’s seen dozens of people chose vegetarianism after witnessing the film, which is the ultimate goal of the Farm to Fridge tour. Vegetarianism continues to grow to be an easy diet choice for Americans. Grocery stores carry a variety of vegetarian-friendly foods, and the vast majority of restaurants have vegetarian or vegan items to choose from.
Mercy for Animals took position in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City during their stop, bringing attention to themselves without trying very hard; images of the animal abuse are hard to ignore. Public reaction was as expected: hands clasped over mouths or people having to look away at certain parts of intense abuse.
However blatant and shocking Mercy for Animal’s film is, its message does what farm animals are unable to do: ask for the public’s help. Posting Mercy for Animal’s video to one’s Facebook page, or showing it to some friends at the office, may not immediately bring about a vegetarian diet or stop the slaughtering of animals. It does, however, bring necessary awareness to the improper treatment of innocent animals that happens daily nationwide.