Vegan actor Jerome Flynn is exposing some of the UK’s biggest factory farms in a new documentary.
The Game of Thrones star narrates the 35-minute film, “Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story,” which was directed by Tony Wardle. It follows a fearless group of investigators as they go undercover at some of the UK’s biggest factory farms. The indie film centers around Hogwood farm, a notorious pig farm in England.
Flynn’s narration is entwined with undercover footage. It includes interviews with investigators and activists from the animal welfare organization Viva!, the group behind the campaign.
The documentary also includes interviews with vets and expert commentary from Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore and public health expert Dr. Josh Cullimore.
“The footage in ‘Hogwood’ is horrifying, distressing, and depressing but the clue as to whether it is typical or not is tackled by the contribution from pig industry vet of 50 years, Roger Blowey, who says that Hogwood is not a vision of hell but just a standard intensive pig unit,” Wardle told LIVEKINDLY.
Wardle explained that good animal welfare and intensive factory farms are contradictory terms. “If you have one you cannot have the other,” he said.
The documentary is now streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and Google Play Movies.
Factory Farms and Pandemics
The new documentary is especially timely given the current coronavirus pandemic. Experts believe the virus is zoonotic—which are diseases that animals transfer to humans.
The film explains how the production of meat is highly pollutive. It also delves into how factory farms are a breeding ground for contagious diseases like the coronavirus. “In the film [Cullimore] spells out that the filth and disease in intensive farming will play a central roll in future pandemics,” Wardle said.
“Hogwood” stresses the need for a global reduction in meat and dairy consumption in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future. But, the director says, this is not an easy feat. Especially given the fact that UK governments refuse to step in.
“Governments […] refuse to intervene because they see restricting meat and dairy sales for any reason as being electorally unpopular,” he explained. “Plus, their electoral heartland is rural farming communities—they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them.”
“The problems of animal farming [are] so profound that ending [them] has to take priority over all else. And it is up to the government to determine what support is necessary,” Wardle said.