“American Meat” is the latest documentary film seeking to be part of the nation’s food debate. Unlike some that have gone before — “Food Inc.” and “Fast Food Nation” come to mind –“American Meat” appears to be less polemic.
So far it’s only had a few screenings in Iowa, but its own website says “American Meat is a solutions-oriented macroscopic documentary surveying the current state of the U.S. meat industry.”
The producers say they “take an even-handed look at animal husbandry.”
From the trailer, also on the website, “American Meat” appears to offer some dialog among those in animal agriculture who operate large scale facilities and those like Joel Salatin, who advocates for the grass-based farms both in practice and on the lecture circuit.
“We explain how America arrived at our current industrial system, and show you the feedlots and confinement houses, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there,” say the producers.
The film promises “many voices” but clearly sets out to explain what’s going on in rural America, from the confinement house that raises 21,000 chickens in seven weeks to “egg mobiles” that follow grazing cattle with free range chickens.
“American Meat” is getting its first screening outside of Iowa this Friday before the American Devon Cattle Association’s Great Event at Double Brook Farm near Hopewell, NJ.
Temple Grandin, the Colorado State University animal welfare expert, will speak prior to the screening. Jon McConaughy and Double Brook Farm are featured in the film.
The new full-length documentary is only the latest to feature the food industry. Best known of these is “Food Inc.,” that fired one shot after another at the meat industry in 2009, and “Fast Food Nation,” which like the book of the same title took on McDonald’s and its competitors when released in 2004.
So called “outreach partners” for “American Meat,” according to its website, include: Food Democracy Now!, Real Time Farms, Chef’s Collaborative, Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Spin Farming, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Local Harvest and Acres USA.
“American Meat” will be screened about 100 times locally before its scheduled general DVD release in February 2012.