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May 27, 2009

"Food, Inc." Documentary Raises Questions about What We Eat

The Humane Society of the United States

On May 20, The HSUS teamed up with California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez to host a screening of an important new film.

FOOD, Inc. exposes America's industrialized food system's effects on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights—as well as animal welfare.

About 200 invitees packed Sacramento's Crest Theater near the State Capitol for the screening, which turned into something of a red-carpet event with the attendance of actor Martin Sheen and sustainable food advocate Alice Waters.

Sheen and Waters joined The HSUS's Jennifer Fearing, Sen. Florez and Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg, as well as the film's producer, Elise Pearlstein, for an engaging panel discussion, taking a multitude of questions from an enthusiastic audience afterward.

Timely and Relevant

The Sacramento screening comes on the heels of last November's overwhelming passage of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which will prevent millions of animals from enduring the confines of tiny cages and crates on California factory farms.

Sen. Florez, a backer of the California ballot measure and the author of SB 135, a bill that seeks to ban the cruel and unnecessary docking of dairy cows' tails, was on hand at the screening of FOOD, Inc.

Emphasizing the message behind the movie, Sen. Florez told the audience, "All Californians, and indeed everyone, have a stake in agriculture. Films like this are an invaluable way to spread awareness regarding how food gets to our plates, as well as the consequences of our food choices."

"FOOD Inc. is an important film that offers a critical look at the animal welfare, public health, worker safety and environmental problems associated with factory farming," added Fearing. "By reducing the number of animals we eat, each one of us can make a positive difference."

Hard Look at the Issues

FOOD, Inc. is an exciting new documentary from the filmmakers behind "Darfur Now," "The Kiterunner" and "An Inconvenient Truth." It stars acclaimed writers Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma), among others.

The film takes a hard look at how massive American factory farms abuse the approximately 10 billion animals they raise and kill each year.

It documents many of the inhumane conditions, such as intensive confinement and slaughter, that factory farms routinely inflict upon animals. And it illustrates how factory farms exploit workers, pollute local communities, contribute to global climate change and threaten human health.

Taking Action

In her remarks to the audience, Fearing referred to the HSUS Guide to Vegetarian Eating provided to each attendee.

"Whether we're concerned about mono-cropping of corn, water conservation, cruelty to animals or global warming, we can each make an effective choice right now to reduce our consumption of animals," Fearing reminded the audience.

"It's not an all-or-nothing proposition; we can choose vegetarian foods all the time, three days a week, until dinner or however we feel comfortable. But it's important to recognize that any reduction we make results in less animal suffering and a healthier planet."

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