‘Eating Animals’ film asks: Want food from a farmer or a factory?

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Kindly Kansas turkey farmer Frank Reese is one of the heroes of the agriculture documentary “Eating Animals.” | SUNDANCE SELECTS

Noted celebrity vegan Natalie Portman narrates this documentary …

Hold on, fellow meat eaters! Director Christopher Quinn’s film isn’t the blood-spattered, viral footage-laced, sermonizing moral lecture you might think it will be.

Granted, there ARE some unforgettably sickening clips bringing home the horrific treatment of farm animals — from chickens with legs more pliable than rubber to overfed steers literally shoveled to their demise via forklifts to “pink” lagoons that get their color from the most nauseating ingredients imaginable — but “Eating Animals” isn’t a sanctimonious argument trying to convert the carnivore.

Using Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2009 best-seller as a launching point, “Eating Animals” is primarily concerned with telling the story of the independent farmer, who has been all but driven out of business by the industrial livestock-rearing complex.

We learn the story of chicken farmer Craig Watts, whose contract with Perdue Farms was allegedly a lifetime commitment to debt.

And the story of Kansan turkey farmer Frank Reese — who raises his birds as part of the cycle of life, and nurtures and respects and cares for them.

And the story of Jim Keen, a veterinarian and groundbreaking animal-welfare whistleblower.

The mission of “Eating Animals” isn’t to get you to swear off meat (though I’m sure the filmmaker and the narrator would applaud that). It’s to raise your consciousness about the good, the bad and the ugly of animal agriculture.


Sundance Selects presents a documentary directed by Christopher Quinn. No MPAA rating. Running time: 94 minutes. Opens Friday at the Music Box Theatre.

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