When Netflix released Okja it got a lot of media attention. Many people even took to social media to declare themselves vegan after watching it. It’s unsurprising as Okja depicts humans being awful to the animals that they will eventually eat. The tale of the super pig who won the heart of a young Korean girl, Mija, seems to be having a big impact on people. So how true to real life is Okja?

The World Has a Food Problem

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The world’s population is at 7 billion, 805 million human beings struggle with hunger every day, including 30 million right here in the United States. The world is running out of food, and we’re not talking about it.’ An extract from the opening speech given by Mirando Corporations, the fictional organisation behind the creation of Okja. Almost all of it is true, except that there are an estimated 795 million undernourished people in the world and nowhere near 30 million live in the US. However, the world is running out of food and if we continue to rely heavily on animal agriculture the situation is set to get worse. However, Mirando Corp have a different idea of how to fix the problem.

Genetically Modified Pigs

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And here comes the problem fixer, the ‘super pig’, which is exactly what Okja is. Despite Mirando’s claims, Okja and her sisters are all genetically modified pigs developed to require less feed and produce less waste than the pigs we all know, as well as producing more meat. Although our ability to genetically modify animals isn’t quite that advanced, there are two types of GM pig that are currently being developed, one that will be resistant to African swine fever, and another that will have ‘double-muscles’ in order to get more protein per pig.

Pigs Are Forcibly Impregnated

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Okja depicts a rather gruesome assault on the already abused super pig. Power hungry ex TV star Johnny Wilcox takes his frustration out on Okja and lets a sexually frustrated male pig loose, forcing her to mate with him. Although pigs on farms aren’t impregnated in this way, it is currently done by force. Farmers inject semen into a sow’s vagina so that she will continue to produce piglets. Sows will do this their whole lives until they physically can’t anymore and then they will be sent to the slaughterhouse.

Standards on Pig Farms

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During the movie, we see thousands of super pigs all confined in small spaces with little room to move. They are then restrained in order to be shot and killed and hung upside down in order to be beheaded, and chopped in half. This is not entirely dissimilar to the reality of pig farms. Kept in confined spaces, sows will often live their lives in crates that they cannot turn around in. The main difference between Okja and real life is that pigs tend to have their throats slit, as opposed to be shot. Pigs are supposed to be stunned before this happens but more often than not, it doesn’t work effectively and the pigs are somewhat conscious until they bleed out.

Pigs Love Cuddles

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What really makes the film so heartwrenching is Mija’s desperate attempt to get Okja back and save her from slaughter. The close bond the two have is both beautiful and heartbreaking and they show each other a great deal of affection. It has been proven that pigs are incredibly intelligent, including emotionally and real pigs just love being cuddled and loved just like Okja. If you don’t believe us take a look at this video of Hank.


Image credit: Cinefex | My Best Friend Hank