All we’re trying to is show people what is happening.
So we’re opening up the doors
And lighting up the dark!
These are the emotive words you hear when you watch the trailer for the movie Lucent by Chris Delforce and Aussie Pigs.
Whilst the movie has been recieved with open arms from animal ‘activits’ around the country, the question needs to be asked, “Are they really showing us what is happening?”
Let me tell you, the answer is surprising.
Two Minds Writing This
When I sat down to write this piece, I really was of two minds about it. On the one hand, as a vegan who wants the use of other animals to cease, part of me wants more movies like this to be made and shown.
Then there is the more pragmatic side of who knows and understands that films like this are only of interest to those who are already vegan, or those who are already thinking of going vegan.
To everyone else, they are just the work of extremists, and those who have no sense of reality.
And this is where the problem lies.
Extreme Views Based On Fantasy
With the methods used by those who obtained the footage being questionable, it is easy for the average Australian consumer to dismiss the movie as the work of animal rights extremists who want are telling them what they can and can’t do.
And a compliant media is only too eager to reinforce that view.
If Mr Delforce wanted the use of other animals to end, and was indeed an animal rights activist, then these messages would have come out in all his interviews.
Except this isn’t the case. I have not seen nor read anything where he says that the solution is to go vegan.
Even when interviewed by the sympathetic publication The Scavenger, Chris Delforce failed to mention anything about veganism.
Is it asking too much to expect that someone who claims that they are an animal rights activist, to actually make mention of that when being interviewed, and to not shy away from telling everyone to go vegan?
If he doesn’t mention veganism during the film or interviews, and a majority of those seeing the movie are already vegan, what is the real purpose of it?
Only Half Lighting Up The Dark.
This movie is about the ‘treatment’ of pigs from a select number of piggeries in Australia. Whilst this treatment may be legal and approved of within the Model Code of Practice, it is hardly lighting up the dark.
Whilst being ever so eager to condemn the whole pork industry, the movie Lucent has missed the following ‘facts’ relevant to the treatment of pigs:
* 70% of sows are now in group housing, and spend 90% of their pregnancy in loose or group housing.
* The industry voluntarily made the decision in 2010 to go sow stall free.
* 91% of sows are audited under the APIQ quality assurance program
* 45% of all pork consumed in Australia is imported
* 70% of processed pork products are imported from countries with little or no compliance to animal welfare standards.
NOTE: Important disclaimer.
As someone who wants to see all animals given equal consideration, the above is by no means excusing animal agriculture for the use of other animals, just pointing out what those who are worried about the way that pigs are ‘treated’ are neglecting to mention.
Being Flexible With The Truth
Something that is interesting through all of this, and in the associated interviews that have been done, Mr Delforce and the various branches of the Animal Liberation franchise claim that the footage was given to them anonymously. Yet a recent interview on the ABC program Background Briefing, it is revealed that Mr Delforce made a complaint to the police about damage to a vehicle that occurred during a ‘raid’ on a farm.
Mr Delforce has also claimed that the footage of agitated pigs occured when the ‘activist’ entered the shed. The industry is saying that the pigs got excited due to the presence of a person in the sheds and being woken from sleep, which may have lead them to believe that they were going to be fed. Not surprisingly Mr Delforce disputes this, though if the footage has been provided annonomously, how does Chris Delforce know that this isn’t the case, or the cages weren’t rattled prior to filming.
Those of use who have spent any time with animals know that they are able to be ‘conditioned’ to exhibit a certain behaviour depending on the stimulus. At a rescue that I spent time on all you had to do was bang on a bucket and if the pigs were within hearing distance, they would come running expecting something to eat.
Additionally, no mention was made of the 250 piglets that died as a result of being let out and property damage that occurred on one farm. Or that by ignoring biosecurity protocols those who illegally entered the farms put not only their lives at risk, they also endangered the lives of those pigs they were claiming to be seeking to protect.
YET ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE:
When I mentioned this in the article, Aussie Farms And Chris Delforce. Raising awareness or setting things back?, some of those commenting on it decided that this didn’t matter as the pigs were destined for slaughter anyway. Except, they are forgetting that if a farm has 200 pigs that need to be killed because of an outbreak, another 200 pigs will need to be purchased at a later date.
The reality of their actions is that they are then causing more pigs to ‘suffer’ on the farm.
So much for helping the animals.
Help Is What Is Needed
Mr Delforce is quoted as saying, “If you are going to hurt animals, if you are going to abuse and exploit animals, we will be watching. Your name will be associated with that material.”
And considering that he has not made any mention of the issue of ‘animal rights’, equal consideration, or that other animals shouldn’t be regarded as property, it is more than reasonable to draw the conclusion that he is only interested in the way that they are treated.
Therefore, if this is his focus, why hasn’t he approached the farms or industry as a whole and offered to give them advice on ways to improve their ‘treatment’ of animals?
He would be able to follow in the footsteps of Temple Grandin who has made a huge career out of doing just that worldwide.
I doubt that the industry would have said “No. Go away!”
Could it be that he is more concerned with maintaining the 15 minutes of fame that this movie has given him than he is with the way that animals are ‘treated’?
Lucent Is A Wasted Opportunity
Despite what Mr Delforce’s supporters and detractors say, Lucent appears to have very little with people not consuming animal products or even pig based products for that matter.
If this movie had have been done correctly, it could have turned into an Australian version of the movie Earthlings. Sadly, this can never be the case.
Looking at this movie objectively, I see that it could be used as a great marketing piece by those who farm pigs. Think about it, you are watching an ad on TV where the voice over starts “You told us that what you saw in the movie Lucent was unacceptable. We listened to you, and now we are happy to tell you that those practices are no longer used. In fact, we are so proud of the advancements that we have made, that we are happy to introduce the Aussie Pigs Approved™ range of products. This means that when you buy these products, you can be safe in the knowledge that the pigs are housed and killed ways that will cause them the least amount of stress possible.”
Actually, now that I think of it, maybe that is the purpose of the movie all along, to create a demand for a ‘new and improved’ line of pork based products where the conscience of the consumer can be put at ease. This means that all of us, as advocates for other animals are being hoodwinked into creating this demand by promoting this movie. How else could he get so much media exposure and industry backlash for a movie that doesn’t actually say anything?
Should You Go And See This Movie?
If you are a vegan, I would suggest that you avoid going to see it. I would also suggest that you avoid taking someone who is yet to become vegan to it as well, as it may actually do your cause more harm than good.
You also need to ask yourself, do you really want to spend the time watching footage that you may find disturbing? And, if you are vegan, why are you going to see it in the first place?
Instead, spend the time working on yourself and how you communicate with others.
Doing this will allow you to do far more for the animals than a 90 minute movie ever will.
And that is what it is all about, the animals.
<15 July 2017: Updated formatting and punctuation, grammar, etc>