Eating Animals (2017) Movie Script

[thrilling music]
We are fairly certain that
they do not live in the past
or look to the future.
Then the man told her
"If they don't dwell
on the past
"and they can't hope
for the future
"they can only live
in the present.
"And if their circumstances
lead them to suffer..
...then that is the totality
of their existence."
[instrumental music]
[music continues]
[music continues]
[music continues]
[music continues]
This is 16 weeks.
This is still the pattern
which I follow today.
The Hamburg,
an ancient old German breed.
Here's the king of all the egg chickens, the Leghorns.
"The American Standards
Of Perfection."
You get a copy
of "The Standards"
and you look at the chicken
and you look at the picture.
You look at the chicken
and you look at the picture
until you imprint it
in your head.
The slight arch of the tail
the height, uh, where the neck
is over the head.
So when I began to try to bring
back standard-bred birds
and as I did my work,
I thought I'm going to go back
to the original
utility farm birds.
I grew up on a farm
here in Kansas..
...and my father
showed cattle and stuff
and did it for a living
back then.
And as a kid, you know,
county fairs to me
was just as exciting
as Christmas or holidays
or anything.
And then I started
seeing all the chickens.
My dad said that all
of a sudden, I would be gone
He always knew
where to find me.
I would always be over
in the chicken barn.
At the age of five,
I got my first show chickens.
This is what we breed here.
The Barred Rock is the oldest
American breed that there is.
This is the breed
that everybody raised
in this country by the millions
from about 1850 to 1950s.
The White Jersey Giant
was a wonderful breed.
Extremely slow-growing
and everything
and that's part of the reason
why they lost favor.
Other than the 40 or 50
I have here
there's probably not another 20
in the whole world.
Everything I'm doing here
is nothing new.
In fact,
this is all very, very old.
This is poultry farming
50 years ago.
There was this wonderful system
of farmers who got together
and supported each other
to produce the best.
That is completely gone today.
He tells them the story
how in 1923
in the Delmarva Peninsula
a small, almost funny,
accident happened
to an Ocean View housewife
named Celia Steele.
She had received 500 chicks
instead of the 50
she had ordered.
Rather than get rid of them,
she decided to experiment
with keeping the birds indoors
through the winter.
Confined and lacking sun
and exercise
her birds would never
have survived
were it not for the newly
discovered feed supplements.
Steele's loop
of experimentation continued.
In 1923, she had 10,000 birds
and in 1935, 250,000.
Ten years
after Steele's breakthrough
the Delmarva Peninsula
had become
the poultry capital
of the world.
She had perhaps unknowingly
given birth
to the modern poultry industry
and begun the global creep
of factory farming.
No one fired a pistol
to mark the start
of the race to the bottom.
The Earth just tilted
and everyone slid
into the hole.
Pull that first bottle,
pull the first bottle out
see what they got
for clarity.
You got the sample number?
This is sample number 3-E.
- Okay..
- Hey, Larry.
There's somebody that's movin'
right on the other side
of that shed over there.
There's a creek that runs
through this tree line
off in the distance.
Somewhere just over
three miles long.
In that one creek,
there are 31 CAFOs
Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operations
that eventually drain
into that one specific creek.
So we've actually, uh,
started doin' some
some checkin' on this creek,
on these -- on these waters
to see
what we're comin' up with.
Here in Eastern North Carolina
the area is rural,
the people are poor
very little political clout.
And we have one
of the heaviest concentration
of swine in the world.
And very soon, we'll likely
have the highest concentration
of poultry operations
in the world.
This river was just a paradise.
You'd catch more fish
in just a few hours
than you knew what to do with.
This was a place that you could really make a living fishing.
And then all of a sudden
in the early '90s
my son and I began to see fish
with sores on them.
We began to see fish dyin'
in larger and larger numbers
and then we began to get
the sores that the fish had.
We continued fishing
until this river out here
was coated shore to shore
with these dead fish.
There were so many dead fish,
they were burying them
with a bulldozer
on the other beach.
So we shut everything down.
I remember the early days.
I went out to near
the mouth of the river
and I could see sediments running in and different things
but I didn't see
a source anywhere
which would account
for all the carnage
that was going on in the river.
When I got back to New Bern,
I told the pilot
let's fly up the Trent River
to figure out what was wrong
with this river
and get it fixed.
When I got into Jones County,
I began to see
all these pink
Pepto-Bismol-lookin' lagoons.
Uh, I didn't know
what they were.
I had no idea.
I saw the barns
but I really didn't know
what I was lookin' at.
Everywhere you look.
You can be at 1000 feet
over Duplin County
you look out over the horizon,
you can count 100 lagoons
as you look around
the airplane. 100.
I remember
I called some folks over
some friends I had in Division
Water Quality in North Carolina.
I said,
"Hey, what are those things?"
And then he said,
"Rick, don't you know?
Those are hog lagoons."
You know, you say pink lagoon.
Doesn't that sound nice?
You know, you got a girl
in a bathing suit layin' out
a little chair and table
with some cocktails on it
and everybody's stretched out
in front of the lagoon.
Here's what's goin' on
in a lagoon.
You got 10,000 pigs
in these confinement buildings
and what they're doing
is they're defecating.
They're poopin'
right on the floor
and it goes through slats
and then it goes
under the floor
out to these huge cesspools
that are nothing
but dirt-lined.
No concrete liners,
no plastic liners
just basically dirt.
It goes in that lagoon
and as that lagoon
begins to fill up
with this fecal marinade
of feces and urine
they gotta do something
with it.
They shoot up in the air
and it ends up in the ditches
and it ends up in our water
and then our river
goes out of balance.
And the fish begin to die
and people begin to get sick.
The Earth is about
5.3 billion years old.
Mammals have only been
around 60 million years.
Anatomically, modern humans
have been around
for about 200,000 years.
And then virtually everything
that we associate
with human culture
and human civilization
has occurred
in the last 10,000 years.
And in that 10,000 years
this incredible spike
of population, of consumption
uh, of essentially
humanity freein' itself
from the constraints
of many natural systems
has all happened
in the last 200 years
beginning in the 18th century
but really becoming intense
in this
post World War II period
that people call
the Great Acceleration.
This transformation now
is called the Anthropocene.
This is the period
that's dominated by humanity.
We are the Goliath
and nature in all of its forms
is the David.
There's never been a time
in world history
in which there's been
so many people
with so much access
to the conditions
of a decent life.
There's also never been
any point in human history
when there have been so many
people who don't have access
to the necessary conditions
of a decent life.
Never has humanity
been so powerful
since we crawled out
of the trees.
But probably never have
individual humans
actually felt so disempowered.
The truth is, we don't really
know what to do with ourselves.
We don't know what we want
and in part, we don't know
what we want
because we don't know
who we are.
And so the place to begin
is to try to go back
and try to understand
who we are.
Is that right, sir?
That's right.
[audience applauding]
I don't know what you do
but I think you look
too beautiful to work.
[audience laughing]
Colonel Harland Sanders
was born
in Henryville, Indiana,
in 1890.
His father died
when he was five
forcing his mother
to take on two jobs.
His mother was away
for days on end
leaving Harland to forage
for things in the fields
like sassafras buds and apples
to cook for his younger brother and sister.
I used to work here on this
farm, clearin' new ground.
Then that first month,
he fired me.
My mother, she said
"What on Earth are you
ever going to amount to?
"Harry, you've got no father.
I got nobody to help me
and depend on but you."
And I made a resolve,
if I ever got another job
I was sure going to see, prove
to her that I was worthy of it.
[instrumental music]
After a long run of failures
Harland Sanders began cooking
out of his service station
to make some extra money.
We'd cook meals
for the five in the family
and then we wouldn't eat it
right away ourselves
hoping to sell one, two, three,
or the five meals.
People began to come
from miles around.
But pan-frying chicken
took too long
and Harland couldn't keep up
with the demand
so he modified
a then new appliance
known as the pressure cooker.
He was able to reduce
the cooking time
down to the minutes
and meet customers'
growing demand.
By 1964, Colonel Sanders
was unable to keep up
with the business
and he sold the company
for two million dollars
under the pretense that
there would be quality control
and that no one would tamper
with his chicken recipe.
Well, how'd you like
to make a million dollars
frying chicken?
Today's guest did just that.
And I just think
things have got to be right
and there's nothing in the world
more demanding in food
than to have quality there.
Kentucky Fried Chicken!
You have a reputation
of being very fussy
about your original recipe.
that you want things cooked
the way the colonel
meant them to be cooked.
- Is that true?
- That's right. That's right.
It just had to be right.
That's all there was to it.
You know, we kind of got away
from that, too, actually
by selling out to two different corporations since I sold
but they've depreciated
the value of my product.
Howdy, folks?
It's me, Colonel Sanders.
I've been gone for a while
and, boy
howdy have things changed.
The guy came out and he did
a little presentation.
And I trusted the numbers
and trusted him
and then he has, like,
this cost projection sheet.
Even if you make the minimum
that we can pay you
you're still gonna have
positive cash flow.
The farming economy was bad.
I wanted to stay here
on the farm.
My kids are the fifth
generation in North Carolina
and I looked at that
as kind of like my lifeline.
What's the drawback here?
Of course, she told me
not to do it.
And I'm like, "No, honey.
This is a sure thing.
I got a contract."
Well, the problem is,
is every number on that paper
that he gave me was pulled
straight out of fantasyland.
My reservation was the debt.
Well, I mean, you know,
we were 20.
She was 21, I was 25
and you're talkin'
about a quarter million dollars.
That's a lot of money.
I went from two houses
to four houses.
My income did not double.
My expenses more than doubled.
It's just a treadmill of debt.
Every contract's
take it or leave it.
You're half a million dollars
in debt.
You're gonna take it.
It sucks, but you'll take it.
You come across
these masterpieces.
Steel, plastic,
rotating wheels.
Mechanical arms
repeating the same motion.
All brought together
in the most ingenious ways
to produce more and more.
Is this efficiency?
You once farmed independently
with sweat and labor
love and tedium,
and it was satisfying.
Now you go into debt,
turn on the machines
take orders
from central command..
...but you are efficient.
That's why you do it.
You and your machines
are feeding the world.
You are giving people
what they want.
You want this world,
you want efficiency.
You don't wanna put anyone
out of business.
Nobody ever got the idea
wouldn't it be really cool
if we raised
millions of animals
under really hideous conditions
and gave them short,
miserable and painful lives.
By the way, we would
also pollute our waterways
uh, and deplete our top soils.
Wouldn't that really be
a great way of doing business?
There was never
sort of some evil genius
whose idea it was to create
a world that was like that.
It's -- it's a place
that we got to step by step.
And we're going,
"How did we get here?"
The United Nations
released a report.
It was over 400 pages.
It's called
"Livestock's Long Shadow."
And in this report,
they said
whatever environmental issue
you're looking at
water pollution,
air pollution, climate change
raising animals for food
are one of the top
two or three contributors.
It causes
somewhere between 14%
and more than half
of all climate change.
And so now we're at this point
where it's a question
of how do we go somewhere else.
If you look back
a generation or two
many, many people
were raising pigs this way.
But the basics
that I am using today
is passed from one generation
to the next.
Father, son, grandfather.
It's a way of life rather
than going to, uh, a factory
producing protein units.
- Sophia.
- What?
- Are they all up and out?
- I think pretty much.
- And they're looking happy?
- Yeah.
If you come out here,
you'll notice
that they'll be watching you.
They -- they pay attention.
They run away first
and then
they're all gonna come back.
They wanna know what's going on.
And I, I think
that's really part
of how a pig makes its living,
you know?
They're interested
in a lot of things.
They're intelligent.
They like being together.
They're a group animal.
If they're by themself,
they're uncomfortable.
Basically, everything that
we're gonna have for breakfast
is from right here.
Uh, it's either from the garden
or eggs from our chickens.
And the sausage
is from Niman Pork.
When I first started
raising pigs in the '70s
I went to meetings
and you know, they told me
you gotta get bigger or get out.
And they showed me
these buildings
and how you could put
one of these up
and how many animals
you could raise
and all this kind of thing.
I just had to visit
one of those buildings once
to realize that I -- I just --
I just did not wanna raise
animals like that.
I'd seen free-range chicken
in the market.
Why don't we call these
free-range pigs, you know?
So I sent some pork out there,
trying to, you know
market to some of the
restaurants in San Francisco.
Specialty market.
So the chef said,
"I don't know what you do
but this is the best pork
I've ever had in my life."
Almost from the beginning
I started
looking for other farmers
that were not going
for the confinement system.
Initially, we weren't
creating new farmers.
We were just finding the ones
that were there.
As the demand continued to grow
I started working on the
network of Niman Ranch farmers
which today
is about 500 farmers.
[cows mooing]
This is what it means when
the grass is always greener.
As you go down into these lower areas, the soil gets thicker
and they know that the grasses
down here are better for them.
They're more palatable,
there's more energy.
It's really strong.
And that means
that the fiber is there
and -- and it's --
it's really producing
a lot of milk and -- and flesh.
The meat industry
has done a good job
of disconnecting eating meat
from killing animals
and it's really made it
possible for people
not to fully appreciate that
there a -- actually is an animal
that had to be murdered
for them to eat this.
[instrumental music]
They're animals that we have
a contract with to care for..
...and provide
the best possible life.
So we've done all that.
They've had a good life
and now we have
the authority to decide
that we're gonna
take their life
and cut them up into pieces
and feed people.
So it's, uh, uh,
it's -- it's a tough moment.
[indistinct chatter]
The people born
into animal agriculture today
think that
confinement agriculture
is the way it's supposed to be.
If the consuming public saw
what it really looks like
they would stop eating it.
You have to start thinking
like the turkey
and realize
what they're gonna do next..
...and also sort of learn
their language.
I mean,
turkeys are always talking.
They have a tremendous language
of their own
and many, many
different vocalizations
that mean different things.
So that's part of the reason
why Ben Franklin
didn't want the eagle.
He thought the wild turkey
was a far more majestic,
honorable animal.
People think
turkeys as being stupid
and, you know,
drowned in the rain
and all this stuff,
which isn't true.
That all got based
where people went out
and bought baby turkeys
and brought them home
and didn't properly house them.
And it rained
and they all drowned.
But my response to that
is take a human baby
and put it out in the rainstorm
and see how long
it -- it survives.
It will put its head up
and drown.
Um, you know, that had more
to do with just really bad care.
Now the other side of it is
that the modern industrial
turkey that everybody buys
at Thanksgiving
is a lot stupider.
But that's because of man
when they've decided
to take the turkey off the land
and house them in buildings
actually began to select
for stupidity.
Because if you have an animal
that you don't want it
to do anything,
you want it to just eat
and stand there and gain weight
you don't want it
to have any intelligence.
They like to be
where the action is.
I finally learned
why drugs are so essential
to factory farming poultry.
Healthy birds
don't require drugs.
Sick mutated ones do.
Turkeys have been
so genetically altered
that they're no longer
even capable of having sex.
They're all artificially
I learned that
because corporations
want to pay less for feed
and Americans
like the taste of fat.
Today's meat birds have been
bred with mutant obese genes
to grow faster and fatter
than ever imaginable before.
So much faster and fatter
that if a human baby
had her growth
similarly accelerated
a two-month-old would weigh
more than six hundred pounds.
They're trapped in these bodies
that keep them from doing
normal animal behavior.
Well, abnormal
is now called normal.
Fifty years ago, these chickens
wouldn't have survived
on the farm.
The family farm was the original small business
in this country.
There was this notion
that through your own hard work
and your own decisions,
you can either succeed or fail.
And that was an idea
that embedded itself
in the American way,
that embedded itself
in the American
economy and culture
and lasted until the 1970s
when we changed what
economic sovereignty meant.
You know, the almighty good
and the best object
you can achieve
is just cheapness.
Make the food as cheap
as you possibly can.
And as long as it's cheap
people really didn't care
how it was produced.
We still hold this idea
in our head
that there's capitalism
out there in rural America
that we have
independent farmers
that rise or sink
based on how well they do.
What we really have now
is a system
that looks a lot like
a Soviet Politburo system.
It's a system
based on central planning
central ownership,
centralized control.
I mean, you've literally
got a control room
in Springdale, Arkansas
with people typin' away
on computers, figurin' out
how many chickens
are gonna be raised
on farms in the state
of Georgia
or North Carolina
or Mississippi.
John Tyson and his son, Don
were brilliant businessmen.
You know, he started out
by hauling
you know, fruit
from Arkansas to Kansas City.
And then when that went under,
then he started hauling chickens
and then that's what started
his business.
He had a lot of guts.
Don Tyson was brilliant
and visionary
and ruthless
and completely unsentimental.
He was born in near poverty.
The northwest corner of Arkansas was the poorest corner
of one of the poorest states
in the country.
Nobody showed
a great measure of pity
to him
when he was growing up
and I don't think he felt
he owed that
to anybody else.
The chicken business
was pretty simple then.
We grew one chicken,
it made money.
We grow two chickens,
it makes money. We grow more.
And so that, that's the history of our company.
But as it grew, he ran into the problems that I have today.
The demand fluctuated too much.
He had to find a way
where he had a product
that didn't change,
that was identical
and was in demand
12 months of the year.
Don spent 12 years
going to McDonald's saying
"I can make chicken cheaper
than anybody can make
a pound of beef
or a pound of pork."
And finally after 12 years
they -- they saw
what he was seeing.
And that was
the Chicken McNugget.
new Chicken McNuggets
McDonald's and you
He was always capable
of putting the, the risk,
the loss
the chances on other people.
Preferably his farmers.
They always paid the price
when things failed.
He'd invented
the tournament system.
It is truly a Machiavellian
and brilliant system
that all these companies
now use.
The tournament is unique
in that most farmers
get paid a certain price
for the commodity they raise.
You know, corn farmers,
soybean farmers
there's a market price
for their product.
But chicken farmers get paid
based on the terms
of this tournament.
Tyson will take
all the farmers in an area
and then it will rank them
based on how efficiently
their birds were fattened up
on a given ration of feed
that Tyson provided.
Based on your ranking
you were either paid
a premium price
or your pay is cut
and that is the bonus
that's given to the farmers
at the top.
It makes it so all farmers know
that if they're going
to do well
it is gonna be at the expense
of their neighbors.
So it systematically divides and conquers rural communities.
It makes sure
that farmers don't cooperate
they don't share information.
If I try to compare
the results of my tournament
to my neighbor's
I can actually be sued
by the company.
I have no desire whatsoever
for my kids to do this.
I've got more faith in them
and they're smart enough
to not do what their daddy did
and, uh, I just had such a bug
to get back to the farm.
I got nobody's butt to kick
but mine for getting into it.
Um, but I will keep them
out of it.
My 13-year-old son has never
set foot in these houses.
Neither will my other son
or my daughter.
I don't know one chicken farmer that's happy.
It's that disrespect
for the farmers.
For what we are to this business
and to be treated like, uh, uh.. a serf.
Somebody called it
indentured servitude.
Indentured servant doesn't have
$500,000 worth of debt.
I'd trade places with him.
Year after year, the lopsided
contracts reduce Craig
to little more than a low-level manager of his own farm
owning nothing
more than the houses
the waste and the dead birds.
His chief concern
becomes protecting his family
from the danger
of their massive debt.
It's not just the unwinding
of a way of life.
There is, perhaps,
an exhaustion of spirit.
We turned off the interstate
in the Central Valley
and headed toward
the town of Tulare
to see if we could find
any trace of the lake
that was no longer there.
Tulare Lake was once the largest body of fresh water
west of the Mississippi
before it disappeared.
We were told that
long before European settlers
came here,
the lake's basin was home
to the largest
Native American population
in North America.
How they once thrived
on the plants and animals
that lived around the lake.
Tulare Lake was a significant
stop for millions of birds
migrating along
the Pacific Flyway.
With its fertile ground
and water resources
settlers began to move in.
And in the 1850s
the governor of California
ordered the execution
and annihilation
of the Yokut Indian Nation.
As settlements grew
the farmers redirected
the rivers
that fed the lake
to provide water
for their crops
and farm animals.
The early pioneers
of big agro business
took the cows off pastures
and placed them
into high-density feed lots.
We drove
through the now dry lakebed
and passed the massive
dairy complexes
that now populate the area.
Okay, let's see.
He's right behind us again.
Who knows what he's doing?
So stay off of our property.
We have our right.
We're on a state road.
So I'm not doing anything wrong.
I appreciate it, okay?
Thanks. Okay.
It is good.
Let's pass on now.
Might want to get
a picture of this too.
Good eye.
[indistinct chatter]
Back, back, back, back.
Here he comes.
Paul, here he comes.
Paul, he's coming.
Nine billion farm animals.
Their lives are categorized
by unmitigated misery
from the moment they're born
to the moment
that they're slaughtered.
98% of people
eat animal products
and 98% of people
are complicit
in cruelty to animals
that if they actually
witnessed it
they would find it
morally loathsome.
These are the worst jobs
in the country
working in slaughterhouses.
And yet anytime anybody
is eating meat
you are entering
into this mercenary relationship
wherein you are paying
someone else
to slice animals' throats
open for you
to castrate pigs
without pain relief
even on the so-called
humane farms
to slice the beaks off
of chickens
even on the cage-free egg farms.
The level of abuse from the farm
to transportation to slaughter
is something that will shock
the conscience
of most kind people.
It's only a matter of time
before you move from
you know, where we are now
to a world in which
more and more people are saying
you know, well, maybe
we shouldn't be consuming them
in the first place.
Do you have eight?
Today is the day in which
we load all the turkeys
for the Thanksgiving market.
It's always the day I hate.
It's -- it's not like
it's a great enjoyment to know
that I'm going to send these
turkeys off to their death.
I just don't know how else
to finance what I'm doing.
This is the way I know of saving
these endangered animals.
There ought to be 12 in there.
If you want to help
preserve them or save them
we have to put them back
into your meal.
Are you gonna drive dad's truck
or is he gonna drive?
He is.
Where do you want me
to move it to?
They'll start loading
right here.
When he was a young kid, he
told me he was gonna do this.
I mean, he was eight years old
he bought twelve turkeys
and, uh, he raised them all
and when they got about,
oh, half-growing
the, the coyotes got in 'em
and killed them all but one.
And that one turkey
was kind of like
one of the family for years.
Lars, my wife,
she went to leave one day
to g -- go get the kids
from school
and backed over that turkey..
...with the car.
And, of course, she jumped out
and wrung its neck
and right away
and let it bleed out, so we..
It wasn't a waste. We ate it.
He is really old.
Sort of support him up
or he isn't gonna breath right.
But after that,
well, he always had turkeys.
[indistinct chatter]
This has to work.
I've thought
about that a lot at night
that it is my responsibility
to show people
because part of sustainability
is the economics.
And, you know, these birds
have to pay for their way.
Part of being a farmer
is making a living at it.
So who says
standard-bred turkeys
have to be skinny little
narrow-breasted things.
Look at that,
some of these hens.
Beautiful round-breasted hens.
These birds you've worked with
for six, seven months
and you've started with an egg
and hatched
and everything else
are gonna be sent off
to be killed.
And if, if you're not
aware of that
you know,
but I love my turkeys
so I know what's gonna happen.
Today farmers working outside
of the factory farm system
are required to fit themselves
into a model
built to serve big ag.
to affordable slaughterhouses
what the industry calls
processing plants
is the single biggest problem
that farmers like Frank face.
Most slaughterhouses
in America today
simply refuse to work
with smaller clients.
Independent farmers
once a crowned jewel
of American democracy
are now peasants serving
the will of corporations.
We sent our turkeys
to the processing plant
in Nebraska to be processed
not knowing that the plant
is very close
to being foreclosed on
by the bank.
The employees
really didn't give a damn
and they were cutting
the colons
and spilling fecal material
all over the meat
and the inspectors
were condemning them all
and nobody really cared.
The turkeys
are just part of the widget
that's gotta get shut down
the assembly line.
Basically, they destroyed
40% of our flock.
We more or less lost
about the entire amount
of turkeys
which was about 2600 turkeys
was -- was the number of turkeys
I put on the truck.
You know, again,
these big companies
these big corporations,
you know, they don't get it.
So we're entering MARC,
uh, right now.
The most striking thing
about it
is that there are
these large concrete bunkers
they used to manufacture ammunitions during World War II
and they stored them
in the bunkers.
And they were able
to get it transferred
from US Military Department
of Defense to the, uh, USDA
and created the MARC.
It's probably the largest
livestock research center
in the world.
More than a billion dollars
has been spent over there
in the past 50 years,
which is allocated by Congress
to support
maximizing meat production
and dairies
and things like that.
As a clinical veterinarian
I've been at MARC
for half of its lifetime.
So I knew where the dead bodies were buried.
About a mile down,
there is probably some sheep.
That's it.
Left side of the road.
- All those buildings.
- What did you say, Connie?
I'm saying
that's the research center.
I was banned from here
eight or nine months ago.
- Here comes another car.
- Yeah, we got company.
They're probably calling
MARC security.
Well, they can't do
anything to us.
We haven't done anything wrong.
What I came to realize
over the years
was some of the actual
experiments that they did there
I could no longer buy into.
One was a case
where a technician did surgery
on about 60 pigs.
She used a very fine suture
and the wrong suture pattern
and so a couple days
after the surgery
all the guts fell out
of the pigs.
So when a lamb is born..
Another case that comes to mind is the project
called the Easy Care sheep
and MARC was trying
to fight nature.
They were trying to convert
domesticated sheep
into a wild sheep
and the idea was just
to minimize the labor.
I had a veterinary student
and his job
he would just pick up lambs
by the dozens or hundreds
depending on the day,
that had died each day.
So he'd go out there
and pick up all the deads.
Another example
I can think about
was on a Saturday
I was on call.
The technician told me there
was a heifer that was down.
So I went up there
and it turned out
it was from an experiment.
Typically, the way to measure
sex drive in a bull
is you put one bull into a pen
with a single female
who's in heat
and you see how many times
the bull mounts
the female in 15 minutes.
In this case, this heifer
was with five or six bulls
restrained in a headlock.
I'm -- I'm not sure why,
what the rationale for that was
but this heifer was mounted
until she ruptured
both of her Achilles tendons
and broke
both of her rear legs.
Basically, a cow was raped
to death.
After that, I started
documenting things I saw
or things I heard about,
cases of animal abuse.
I had a log.
I guess at some point, uh
I realized I just..
Yeah, I just, it was time
to pull the trigger.
I thought
I could just be hidden
and just supply Michael Moss
of "The New York Times"
with the documents.
Another veterinarian
showed up unexpectedly
and, uh, saw me with him there
and -- and that's how
I got found out.
Is this the same guy
in the red?
Yes. Probably a security guy.
Do I have to stop?
Is he looking at me?
You're staying on the road.
You can do whatever you want.
Oh, we're just driving,
looking around.
Okay, um, I notice you got
a camera in the back there.
- Yes, we do.
- Okay, what is it for?
It's, uh, we're filming.
You're on federal property, sir.
- Are you --
- May I see your ID?
Uh, are you
a -- a state police?
- No.
- Okay, then I'm sorry.
I'm not going to.
I know my rights.
She's writing down your plate.
Now what?
- You can go.
- Okay, okay.
Hours after they were stopped
for filming
Jim and Connie
received a knock on the door
from an FBI agent
specializing in eco-terrorism.
Despite the fact
that he has no criminal record
the agent placed a file folder
on the table
an inch and a quarter thick
and opened it to the first page
revealing a color photograph
of Jim.
Not long after
he was visited by the FBI
Jim bought
"The Whistleblower's Handbook"
and in it, he read
that about 80% of the time
the whistleblower
gets hammered.
It just builds over
20-something years.
I mean, you just get
to a point where..
I mean,
everybody's got that point
and I just hit mine watching
that, uh, Perdue commercial.
My dad always, uh,
taught us one line.
Uh, do the right thing and we're doing the right thing
and we're transparent.
He wants the public to believe
that that's a normal farm.
I might not be a lot of things,
but I'm not a liar.
My granddaddy drilled that
into me very good.
Um, he always said,
you know, tell the truth
no matter how bad it hurts.
I've seen birds
with four legs, no eyes.
Bacteria-laden intestines.
You'll smell that
walking in the door.
That can be horrendous.
And you'll see heart attacks.
They call them flip-overs.
We call it water belly.
This will get purple
and it's just full of fluids.
It's a absolute breakdown
of the heart
lungs and whatnot.
I'm not a vet,
but that's not normal.
The leg's folded
completely in half.
I -- I really don't know
what happens.
It's just so soft
that it doesn't snap.
You run into a lot of these
that can't get up.
You can hear respiratory
in this one really bad.
Can you hear it?
This is your premium primetime,
no antibiotic ever, cage-free
humanely raised, blah-blah,
whatever else is on that label.
You know, I -- I --
I mean, I took pictures.
I cut the birds open,
told them what it was
sent it, nobody came.
If you want the egg to hatch
you had to leave it
in there with..
If Craig, he had come
to me first and said
"I wanna be a whistleblower.
I wanna tell the truth
about what's happening
on these farms.."
I would not have said, get
a camera and start videotaping
because the risk
would have been too high.
We've been around for 37 years
and, uh, represented very
high-profile whistleblowers
and we know what happens.
You're probably just gonna get
your ass handed to you
by the corporation.
It's not just like you can come up to these giants
and throw stones
and say bad things about them
and expect not to have
some sort of retaliation.
There's a brand that's at stake
and they definitely
wanna fight for that.
We were going through
the government route
and -- and
what we found out was
if you step
in that congressman's office
time you leave,
the chicken counselor knows
that you were just there.
That's just the way it is.
And I found out, okay,
the hot button is video.
I'm Craig Watts.
I'm a contract poultry producer
with Perdue Farms.
Leah released a video
and "The New York Times"
picked it up
and then they got it
on the "Reddit" board
and, and it's just
like, pfft, damn.
"Forbes" and "Washington Post"
and front page of "Reddit"
and "New York Times," "Wired."
It really upset people.
The next thing you knew,
there's a half million views
in 24 hours,
and I was like, "Oh, shoot."
I mean, I didn't expect that.
They dispatched a team
of welfare experts to my farm.
Company people.
Six visits in ten days,
if I remember right.
They were telling me my welfare standards on my farm
weren't up to their standards.
How can I be so bad to finish first in the tournament system?
The whole thing was to get me
to the breaking point.
What you guys doin' over here?
- Just filming.
- Just a little videotaping.
Well, you can't be
filming my farm.
- Why not?
- Because I don't want you to.
- Well, okay, well.
- Yeah.
You guys might as well
get in your trucks
and go on about your business.
Now you're here
trying to hurt me.
- I'm not trying to hurt you.
- Yes, you are.
You're trying to put me
out of business.
- You've tried for years.
- I haven't, what..
When have I ever done
anything to you?
- You want to hurt me.
- What?
That's what these cameras
are about.
Cut your camera off,
please, sir.
We could see
where they're putting the waste
we could see the lagoon,
we could see if it's overflowing
we could see if it's running
in the rivers and streams
and where they're spraying,
We could see all of that.
The one thing we can't see
is what's inside
those buildings.
That's the deep, dark secret
of this industry.
What is it that the industry
is trying to hide inside?
Is it suffering?
When asked,
the majority of people
say that they object
to animal cruelty
and environmental degradation.
You'd be hard-pressed
to find any other issue
on which so many people
see eye to eye.
And yet suffering and disregard for the environment
has been built
into the equation of cost
and efficiency.
They've calculated
how close to death
we can keep an animal
without killing it.
How close to destruction
we can keep the environment
without losing it altogether.
It's an essential element
for a system
that delivers the cheap meat
we've come to demand.
Are we trying to hide it
from ourselves?
The public
has a right to know
the truth
about the meat they eat
about what this industry
is doing to them.
Okay, and then hit it again
to turn it off.
We process 19,000 hogs a day.
Uh, so it's been five months
since I started working
at the plant.
Whistleblowers in our society
play a very important role.
can't tolerate that
so they pass these laws
called Ag-Gag to shut us down.
And in some states, if you take a photograph on a factory farm
you could have committed
a felony.
Not a misdemeanor but a felony.
I mean, it's ridiculous.
My job primarily is I recruit.
I look for people who are,
for one, willing to go
into these environments
and work in them
but also to do it successfully.
Honestly, finding people
who even want to do this job
is challenging enough,
let alone then breaking it down
to people who are,
who are gonna be good at it.
To actually participate
and be a part of this world
maintaining your cover,
and it's -- it's huge
and you can't do that
if you're just gonna stand
there and watch.
You have to do the job
you're hired to do.
There are many days where
I would come back to my hotel.
I'd wanna curl up in a ball
and just not do anything,
not write my field notes.
I don't wanna relive
the horrible day
that I just had.
I don't want anybody to know
about what's going on
inside those facilities.
You can't do that.
You can't shut down
the individual's right
to inform other people
about what they know.
I don't think
that's constitutional.
I have a right
under the First amendment
and Fourteenth amendment.
Ag-Gag is the stupidest thing
ag ever did.
When that hit the editorial page
of "The New York Times"
it made ag just look like
they had something to hide.
Dumbest thing
they could ever do.
When you get bashed,
you should be opening the door
not shutting it.
I have a saying.
Heat softens steel.
Undercover videos
of really bad things
that made the steel soft
and then all of a sudden,
industry started coming out
with some good guidelines
on animal handling.
And they realized, yeah,
we need to change things.
Big is fragile,
but has advantages.
Economy of scale, cheap price.
But it's fragile.
We are approaching what was
the notorious Westland/Hallmark
where they kill
spent dairy cows
and they're no longer considered
to be profitable milking cows.
We're just looking
at what you're doing here.
I guess
is this a slaughterhouse?
It's against federal law
to have cameras?
You'd give us a tour
if we asked?
- You would give us a tour --
- I sure won't know.
But do you do tours
of the place regularly?
Is that something..
Right, so these, right, right.
- Okay.
- Alright, we'll do that.
In the 2000s, the Humane
Society sent an investigator
here to work at this place
and documented
horrible conditions
with cows being pushed
with forklifts
with animals being
horribly mistreated
and this plant was sending
these downed cows
into the food supply.
Ground beef
from these diseased animals
was going
into the school lunch program.
That was what was happening
routinely here
and that resulted
in the largest beef recall
in US history.
You were established
by Abraham Lincoln
who called you
The People's Department.
But now your job
is to protect industry
from increasing public fears
about everything
from tainted meat
to farm animal abuse.
When your own dietary
guideline committee
cites health concerns
and recommends Americans
eat fewer animal products
you ignore them
and buy unwanted meat and cheese to feed our children
through the federal
school lunch program.
While independent farmers
you spend millions
on photos of celebrities
with milk mustaches
to prop up big ag.
While thousands of Americans
are hospitalized
or dying from food poisoning
you allow millions
of pathogen-infected chickens
to be sold with your approval
every week.
While people demand meat
raised without antibiotics
you ignore sound science
and side with meat companies
to continue putting drugs
in animal feed.
You silence the whistleblowers
who do the job
you were created to do.
Your job is to guard the fox,
not the henhouse.
You are now known as the USDA.
It doesn't look like
the democracy that was around
when I signed up for
the Marine Corps 40 years ago.
I swore to support and defend
the Constitution
of the United States
against all enemies,
foreign and domestic.
I always wondered about the domestic part of that oath.
What kind of a domestic enemy
would I have to support
the constitution against,
you know?
And then
I got into this business
and I see what these
corporations are doing
and the way
this meat is being raised
and, and then how they put money
in the pockets of legislators.
The USDA's been charged by the
president to do a better job..
Every secretary of agriculture
whether they're Republican,
they learn on the first day
that if the subsidies
don't continue to flow
if meat doesn't continue to be
favored in diet guidelines
you're gonna hear about it
in the next election.
[indistinct chatter]
They pay the US Government
enormous amounts of money
to make sure that their products
are front and center in what the
government tells people to eat.
There are plenty of things
in his childhood
and now his child's childhood
that informed him
that diary was a necessary part of a well-balance diet.
But he had seen too much
and for him
it was no longer
an issue of personal health.
He's no longer blind to what
goes into a glass of milk.
What are you, what are you
feeling for in there?
The dairy cows
are artificially inseminated.
It's a bit jumpy,
I think I would be
if someone did that to me.
He learned that immediately at their birth
babies are separated
from their mothers.
The females will be sent into the dairy production cycle
while the males are sent into crates for veal production
or sold as beef.
The cows' tails
are sometimes docked
for the benefit of the milker.
The hybrid cow has been bred
to maximize milk production
yielding ten times
the amount of standard cows.
This can lead to mastitis
of the udder
or other painful infections.
White blood cells,
also known as pus
accumulate and end up
in our milk.
They quibble back and forth
over the suffering
that goes
into the glass of milk
they serve their children.
After that expose
they tried to fire me
but in the end,
it was my tenure
that kept me
from getting fired.
But on the other hand,
I have to move to Lincoln.
I mean, my family's
gonna stay here.
But what I didn't really
plan for or expect
were all the other
negative things.
The past five years have been
really, really difficult.
Really difficult.
It's not the way I ever dreamed
this time in my life
would be, you know?
And granted,
it's for a good cause..
...I wish it were somehow
done differently
with -- with us on the radar.
He had this drive to do this
and again, some good stuff
has come out of it..
...but also some
not-so-good stuff.
I mean..
...all through the years,
I've, um..
...with kind
of an absentee dad..
...I played the role
of both parents.
It would be easier for me
to fix the work side
than the family side.
You know, families,
there's too much.
All the emotional stuff
that's involved in that
and, um,
being relocated to Lincoln
and, you know,
I don't want to go to Lincoln.
Well, so here we sit.
At Niman Ranch, we sell
about 3000 pigs a week..
...and the hog kill nationally
is 400,000 a day.
So 3000 a week, 400,000 a day.
So we're still,
in the big picture, small
but the demand is there.
One of the worst fears
that people have
if they live in the country
is that somebody will build
a confined animal feeding
operation, uh, next door to you.
The laws here
allow those to be built
within 1800 feet of your house.
The neighbor down the road
a piece of land was sold off
by the farmer.
It depends on which way
the wind blows.
There's a lot of odor that comes out of the buildings
but each building
holds about 2500 hogs
in confined animal feeding
They're not really owned
by the farmer.
They're owned by a company.
Then another neighbor
he doesn't care whether
he makes any money on the pigs.
It's, he considers
it a fertilizer plant.
After a lifetime
of raising pigs
Paul decides to make
some changes.
He says raising hogs
is a young man's game
so last winter a farmer came
and picked up
the last of his pigs
the same line he's had
since the 1970s.
Paul has become
an increasingly rare breed.
It is uncertain whether
his now unique knowledge
of raising hogs traditionally
will find its way to a new generation of farmers.
I have done everything to bring
those birds into existence.
I had their parents,
their grandparents.
I've gathered the eggs,
I set the eggs
I washed the eggs.
I spent hours and days
taking care of them as babies
and months being with them
in the pasture.
Some of the lines I have here
this truly is the last of them
on Earth.
I find my faith
in doing what I do
and the connection with the
earth and with these animals
a very religious experience.
Holiness doesn't mean
you do great things.
It means you do small things
with great love.
When I was a kid, there was
a true love of the aesthetics.
I would go and I would visit
the farmers that I knew
and you would look out
over the field
and you would see
a flock of Barred Rocks
or you would see a flock
of Bourbon Red turkeys.
They would truly love
the beauty of what they saw
of what they were doing.
That is gone today in farming.
There's no way
you could love an animal
that has been
genetically engineered
to die in 6 weeks.
I've come to learn why annually
billions of birds
are fed antibiotics.
It's not
that they're initially sick.
It's so they can stand
the filthy
overcrowded conditions
they're raised in.
It's because their bodies
have been modified
to grow 4 times more quickly
than they would naturally
leading to diseases
that make drugs essential.
Nearly 80% of all antibiotics
by the pharmaceutical industry
are used
for factory-farm animals.
This constant flow
of antibiotics
is a vital artery
of industrial farming
as essential as air or water
to the factory-farm system
and it has led to the birth
of so-called superbugs.
These bugs are already mutating
to bypass the antibiotics
designed to kill them.
Tens of thousands of Americans
now die annually
from ailments
once easily treated.
The CAFO system,
it's like a petri dish
for resistant bacteria
and flu viruses as well.
It's a system that is just ripe
for creating disease.
Birds and waterfowl,
in particular
are a melting pot
for all these viruses.
They come together,
they mix and match.
You can get H5N1, H1N7.
What's changing things now
is that the industrialized
poultry industry
is spreading across the world.
So now we routinely
raise birds
in flocks of several million
on a single site
in close proximity
and it's very easy to get
a buildup of pathogens
that will go through the entire house in a matter of hours.
The risk then comes that these
viruses jump into humans.
And that's when you get
a human pandemic
and that's when we get worried
about the likes of Spanish flu
back in 1918.
The 1918 pandemic
was unlike most influenzas
that attacked the weak.
This one preyed
on the young and healthy.
The virus spread
around the world
traveling on boats
that moved across the oceans.
Estimates suggest
that one-third of the world
fell ill.
25 million died
in a 25-week period.
By now, the deadly strain
of influenza
had not disappeared
from the planet
even though it had largely
disappeared from our minds.
Where is the virus now?
Is it en route
on the wings of a bird?
Imagine 2500 cesspools like that
cooking in the hot summer sun
in Eastern North Carolina
and -- and if you don't expect
something bad
to come out of that
well, I got a bridge
to sell you.
This is now some
of the filthiest floodwater
ever seen in this country.
In the mix, millions of gallons of concentrated hog manure.
Worried about disease
state officials are shipping
in portable incinerators.
Sooner or later,
it might be swine flu.
It might be Avian flu.
Something bad's
gonna happen in America.
Now I'm not a scientist,
but it takes a idiot
not to realize
that that's gonna happen.
That may be a rendering truck.
We are creating
the perfect storm.
I mean, it's -- it's
not if, it's when
there's going to be
another really
dangerous flu virus.
Frank's birds are outside,
they're free-range
they're exposed to the
environment, to pathogens
to wild fowl, et cetera,
et cetera, from day 1.
They've build up resistance.
But we can't feed
the world's population
on chickens running around
in a field.
If we're gonna produce enough
chickens to feed the world
then we're gonna have
to double from 50 billion
to 100 billion a year
unless we all turn vegetarians
[speaking in Chinese]
The combined population
of India and China
is approaching 3 billion people
and every year, their diets
look more and more like ours.
The decisions they make will shape the world we all live in.
When I think about the forces
that shaped my life the most
this place is a -- a very
significant one to me.
Got a couple in here.
Hey, pups.
I was taken by how similar
animals in the barn
and animals in our home were
and had trouble
making distinction
between the two of them,
in terms of which ones
you would -- you treat as a pet
which one you would --
you would take to slaughter.
And I think that had
a big impression on me
in terms
of what I'm doing today.
The notion that you can't
perfectly replicate
animal protein with plant
protein, I think, is wrong.
The core parts of meat
are everywhere.
They're abundant
in the plant kingdom
and so why not take them
directly from the plant kingdom
run them through our process
which is heating,
cooling and pressure
and create that piece of meat
for the center of the plate?
For most people
to eat plant-based food
you're gonna have
to replicate meat
and it's possible
but it's up to companies
like myself
and to others to invest
so that we really deliver
on the promise.
[indistinct chatter]
We looked
at over 3200 plants now.
We've identified 11 and then
we can use these plants
to do a whole bunch
of different things.
We can use it as an ingredient
to everything
from binding a cookie
to aerating
to gelling in a pan
like a scrambled egg.
There's something amazing
about plants
and we can tap into 'em
and we can use it.
And I think there's a way to do it that preserves resources
that, that promotes things
we can all agree on.
People are eating meat
because it's delicious
because the price points
are good
and because it's convenient.
So people are not eating meat
you know,
because of how it's produced.
They're eating meat
despite how it's produced.
Yes, people eat
a lot of meat now.
But once people
are given 2 choices
and one of them is healthier and environmentally sustainable
and doesn't harm animals,
and the other one is
you know, what factory farming
and slaughterhouses look like
I think we're gonna see
massive shift over
to the plant-based
In, uh, 1889
there was a story in
"The New York Times" that said
"Edison's gas light substitute
is catching on."
Electricity, you know,
over 100 years ago
was called
a gas light substitute.
When it becomes the easy thing, the affordable thing
it's not a substitute
any longer.
It's just called electricity.
One year after he lost half his flock at the slaughterhouse
Frank is unsure if his poultry
ranch will be able to survive.
A friend and neighbor
come to help
try to balance Frank's ledger.
Be careful. She just..
Yeah, I was gonna say
don't do that!
We're running these numbers.
It'd be tough to do worse
than we did last year
with the slaughter problem,
but looking at these numbers
the changes you've made
are clearly working.
This is the 1st year
you've made money
on all of your hard work.
It's kind of like
now we have a foundation
that we can actually
take off from.
I can't compete
against the factory farm.
I can't compete.
It's not even my job.
- It's not even my focus.
- Right.
My focus is in what I do.
Ben brought some ladies here
a while,
a few weeks ago to visit
and one of the questions
she asked me, she says
"Of all these birds and turkeys
"which ones
are the most important?
Which ones do you wanna keep?"
And I said,
"That's like asking, you know.."
[inhales deeply]
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For 17 months,
I was in work limbo.
Eventually, the choice
was either move to Lincoln
or not have a job, so I guess
it wasn't really a choice.
[blender whirring]
Connie and I..
It's not finalized yet,
but we're getting divorced.
Yeah, that was
the biggest price..
...out of all this.
I hope that at some point
Connie and I can become.., friends again.
In the last 3 months, I've slowly become an activist.
with the Humane Society.
I guess
it's the next logical step.
Going from thinking
and then whistleblowing
and the next step,
you have to take action.
There's inherent cruelty
in that system.
I look back on it now and I say
"How could I not see that?"
Maybe it's like
if you don't wear glasses
and you can't see well,
you put your glasses on
and then, wow, there's a whole
new world out there.
Maybe it was sort of like that.
I like my non-work activism
much more than my job.
I'm already much more
comfortable in my own skin.
I think if I had the choice
to do it again
I'd do it again.
We thought we could simply go
to the legislators
of North Carolina
and the governor and say
"Look, here's the problem.
We know what it is.
The scientists are showin' it. It's documented. Let's fix it."
Go to the forests and streams..
We were able to figure out
where the pollution sources
were comin' from.
We were able to educate
the public.
We were able to educate
the government.
What we weren't able to do
is to make somebody
do somethin' about it.
Alright, this one here
at 3 o'clock.
Here it is now,
20 years later
and every one of those lagoons
is still out there
where they were.
It's a problem not just
for those of us out here
who think this is a problem.
It's a problem for our society,
in general.
It's the way we eat meat,
the way we raise meat.
It's the way
we treat the animals.
It's the way
we impact the environment.
It's health issues.
It's how we're treating
our communities.
How we're treating the people
that live in these areas
who have no choice
but to be here.
It's just, uh,
it's -- it's a sad situation
all the way around.
It's sad,
but it's also infuriating
and downright maddening
at times
that you have an industry
that has that much
of a stranglehold
on this society.
Come on, let's go!
Come on!
What time do you get off
ballet tonight?
- Around 6:00.
- 6:00?
Sometimes I -- I get fatigued.
Are you still practicin'
for "Nutcracker?"
I'm up there now and my time
is limited on this Earth.
And sometimes I think that maybe the best thing to do
is to just enjoy what's left.
And then I think
about my grandchildren.
Uh, they got a whole lifetime
ahead of 'em.
There's enough left for me.
There is.
But is there enough left
for my daughter
and my grandchildren and my two great grandchildren?
Is there enough left?
Okay, it is connecting now.
There's gotta be a stop to this. There's gotta be a limit.
That was slow.
Duplin County traffic, skyline
on the roll, runway 2-3.
Duplin County,
departing to the southeast.
There's always gonna be people
who are willing to stand up
and tell the public
about what's going on.
I wanna hit Hookerton
on the way back down to..
That's near Grifton,
the Grifton Tower.
People need to understand
there are 2 sets of law
that govern what we do
on this planet.
There's the laws of men
and the laws of nature.
The final word is gonna come
from Mother Nature herself.
The unfortunate part
about that is
it's gonna affect you and me
just like it does
all the bad actors.
That -- That area
around Goldsboro
that's really flooded right now.
If they pass a law that says
it's a criminal offense
for me to take a picture
from a public highway
or from an airplane
then they're gonna
have to lock me up.
Somebody's gonna try to strip
those rights away from me.
It's gonna be, they're gonna
have a fight on their hands.
After the video release
that Leah and I did
I raised chickens
for another year.
I mean, there was nothin' more.
I had nothing left
with the business.
So in January of 2016,
I decided to, to cancel
the contract
and, uh, start life over at 50.
Well, I just woke up
one morning.
I had my, my head,
my hands like this
and it's about, like, 3 o'clock
in the morning
and I'm just waiting
for my wife to wake up
and I look at her and I say,
"Can I stop raisin' birds?"
Um, and she said,
"I told you that 2 years ago."
It's scary.
I have young kids
and, and I'm not where I
expected to be at 50 years old
so there ain't
a storybook ending.
We're just gonna h -- hope
we can find an ending
where we land very softly.
That shit runs downhill and I
was at the bottom of the hill.
It's good that I'm not beholden to Perdue Farms anymore.
Having to raise their chickens
while they're lookin' at me
the whole time
as an expendable resource
and not a person
and not an asset.
When I was doing chickens
under contract, I mean
bottom line is,
I was a homogenizing widgets.
Is this farming?
I say no.
I don't want my kids involved in this method of raising food.
There might be a heck of a past,
but there's no future in it.
Um, I don't see it
gettin' any better.
I see, um..
I -- If the world's appetite
in meat grows
and the -- and these, these
companies keep expandin'
like they are, um
at some time, uh,
some point in time
it's gonna force our hand
to change.
They're talkin' about this
Feed The World mantra.
This is insane.
We're not feeding
the world now.
We're not even feedin'
everybody on this road.
It's a defense
for the system
that's in place now.
You're growing soy
and wheat and corn
and such a high percentage
of that
is just going back
to feed animals.
Uh, tillable acres.
At some point in time,
it's finite
but it's not gonna
be sustainable.
At some point in time,
you're gonna have to go
for less meat consumption.
You vote at least 3 times a day with your fork.
I believe with,
in all my heart,
the future lies
in diversifying farms.
I believe you're gonna see more
livestock production.
The -- The hogs on the pasture
and the cows on the grass-fed
and the, even the chickens
on the pasture.
That is like the new,
that's -- that's like, um..
It's like back to the future
is kind of where -- where
where I think we're goin'.
Without the diversification
in the monoculture
you're so dependent
on those commodity prices
that it's feast or famine.
When you put all your eggs
in one basket
all your eggs
are in one basket.
You don't have anything
to fall back on.
I was fascinated
by the question
about what was here
before we were raising
13 billion bushels of corn,
you know?
Iowa, it's actually the most
altered landscape on Earth.
99.9% of the --
of the prairie is gone.
And so the fascination
with it kind of hooked me.
So I planted this and never
regretted it one second.
It's 140 acres
of restored and reconstructed
tallgrass prairie.
It's an oasis
for wildlife, really.
All kinds of mammals,
badgers, foxes, skunks.
And every time
you go out there
you'll see something different.
The seed bank was there.
I've never put a fish
in any of the ponds
yet there were 2 varieties
of fish in the ponds.
Well, this is the stuff
that's been here
for the last 10,000 years
since the Wisconsin glacier
came through.
It just enriches a person's
life in my estimation.
Much more
than another field of corn.
There needs to be a place
for farmers to come
and relearn this again
as we did years ago.
I'm not sure
that's easier to read though.
- No, that's harder to read.
- Yeah.
- Really?
- Yeah.
I like it on the wall.
This type of farming,
this type of breeding
is not taught anywhere anymore
because all the
land grant universities
are controlled
by the factory farms.
'Cause that's where
the money is.
It may take us a long time,
but little bits at a time
and this is what we're hoping.
It's gonna be back a ways.
I want a big enough space
for busses to turn or whatever.
If we're going
to change something
then we need to change
the entire system.
We cannot legislate
nor pass laws
nor fine the factory farm
into compliance.
It isn't gonna happen.
The only way to replace
this system
is to replace it
with something new
and make it available
to more and more people
one farm at a time,
one state at a time.
This is my mission.
And I'm sure I won't live
to see what happens.
When I told my mentor
when he was dying
that I would try
not only to save the birds
but to save the memory
of those people.
It is a love for the birds,
but it's also a love
for that whole personal
system of people
fighting to keep
something alive
to keep something going.
[instrumental music]
[instrumental music]