Parents' Guide to

Eating Animals

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Farm docu's stomach-churning stories offer food for thought.

Movie NR 2018 94 minutes
Eating Animals Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

Should have been more vegan

It talks about being vegan, but it isn't vegan AGGHGHGHGHGH
age 16+

Hard to watch - animal cruelty scenes

Unless you’re a sadist and/or trying to raise one, this is definitely not for young children. It’s a documentary designed to inspire thought about the process of food production involving animals. The viewer must be mature enough to understand, process, and make decisions about what they are seeing. If they are too young, there will be no understanding of the context and all they will see are real animals, really dying- horribly- the equivalence of showing worse than graphic horror to a young child because it is actual violence. One of the other reviewers put the age at 2?? To them, all I can say is that most serial killers get started with animals, I’m not sure what hopes they have for their child’s future accomplishments, but mine are that they have compassion and empathy; being old enough to understand what they are seeing and be horrified by it rather than inately changed by it is a prerequisite for watching this movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The film does an effective job of revolting viewers into rethinking their food choices, shaking any faith in the USDA and Congress and mourning the loss of the American farmer. Truly, "you don't want to know how the sausage gets made" is a cliché for a reason: It's nauseating. (Or maybe that saying took flight because the meat industry doesn't want anyone asking questions.) The information is well-presented, but the film gets increasingly difficult to stomach with images of animal abuse. Portman narrates with a quiet calm that's juxtaposed with troubling stories and images of animal abuse and environmental nightmares that sufficiently leave viewers with, well, a lot to chew on. Perhaps not everyone will agree with its message, but Eating Animals' conclusions are fair, offering solutions that include veganism and sustainable animal agriculture.

That said, while Big Ag is an easy villain to target, the movie lacks balance. No explanations, justifications, or counterpoints are offered from corporate farms. The only opposing perspective comes in an unfair presentation: The owner of a new meat processing plant that sits where a notorious slaughterhouse used to be is clearly exasperated when he catches an animal activist filming his place. He explains that all the cameraman had to do was ask for a tour; his employees go through training, they care for the animals, and they aim for transparency. That conversation is followed with footage from 2008 of injured cows being rolled by forklifts by the former business, likely appalling viewers, who may not realize it's of a totally different company a decade ago. And, frustratingly, the film ends with mixed messages. Two of the hero farmers the film follows sell their sustainable farms to Perdue and Tyson, confusing those who were led to believe that those companies were the enemy. For all the work the film does to prove that industrial farms are the devil, it doesn't give enough guidance on farm names that the viewer can trust.

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