The Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with Academy award-winning Aardman Animation to create “A Pig's Tail,” a short but compelling animated film about a pig’s perspective of factory farming. Created by the makers of “Chicken Run,” “Wallace and Gromit” and other beloved animated feature films, the film will be released to coincide with Food Day on Oct. 24.
“A Pig’s Tail” introduces children to some of the realities of industrial farms by following the young piglet, Ginger, and her mother as they experience life on a typical factory farm. Inside a warehouse-like building, the pigs are locked in narrow crates barely larger than their bodies. When a farmer takes Ginger from her mother and cuts off her tail – a common practice endured by pigs who are kept in small, barren pens with other pigs – Ginger decides she must escape. The film follows her journey, and the journey of a farmer who opens his eyes to a more humane way of farming.
Most children are captivated by animals and have the potential to care about how they are treated. Through this film, they will see farm animals as creatures capable of suffering and farm workers as often caught up in an abusive system along with the animals.
The film centers on industrial pig farming where most mother pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates, cages roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies, preventing them from even turning around. The pigs are then placed into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization.
Expressing Aardman Animation’s intentions for the film, director Sarah Cox said, “We hope this film will not only ignite conversation about how food gets to the table but help end this cruel practice.”
There’s reason to believe that end will come sooner than later. Recently, leading food companies in the U.S. like McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Oscar Mayer, Costco, Safeway and Kroger have announced that they’ll eliminate gestation crates from their pork supply chains. This corporate shift away from crates comes on the heels of nine U.S. state laws banning the crates.
We encourage parents and teachers to explore our many resources for children and teens and look for the accompanying film curriculum on October 24. For more information on what you can do to help farm animals, please visit www.humanesociety.org/farm.
“A Pig’s Tail” features voice actor James Arnold Taylor and actress Catherine Taber of the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Singer and songwriter Steven Delopoulos created original music for the film.
Photo Credit: Humane Society of the United States.
Christine Gutleben is the senior director of faith outreach for The Humane Society of the United States.