Netflix's newest release is called Okja, a story of a girl named Mija who discovers that her pet super pig has been bred for food. A company called Mirando created super pigs to feed humans and then sent the pigs to different farmers around the world to take care of them. After a 10 year period, Mirando will host a Super Pig Contest where the farmer of the winning pigs will get a prize and the pigs will be sent to slaughter. Mija, who has grown up with Okja, discovers that Okja has been taken to be in the competition. She then embarks on a wild journey to save Okja with the help of animal activists.
The film has central themes and situations that happen in real life. Farm animals are bred to be slaughtered and then eaten by humans. There are scenes in the film where they enter a slaughter house to try and find Okja. They witness super pigs being electrocuted to get in line for the slaughterhouse and then once inside, they see pigs hanging upside down and being shot in the brain to stun and kill them. It is clear by their screams that these animals don't want to die. They want to live and spend time in nature with other animals that they love. It's an uncomfortable sequence to watch mostly because this horror happens in real life. This is not artistic imagination being performed onscreen.
It is ironic that Lucy Mirando is orchestrating the Super Pig Competition and mass breeding of super pigs to have a smaller environmental imprint. By doing this, she is removing the super pigs from the environments they have known their whole lives and destroying the relationships they have formed with the farmers. She is destroying personal environments for the sake of trying to save the planet's environment.
The film highlights a lack of empathy when it comes to the lives of other animals. The Mirando team refuses to reunite Okja and Mija because it is not in their best interest since it would ruin a plan they have spent 10 years working on despite the fact that returning to Korea would be in the best interest of Okja and Mija. Animal agriculture embodies a similar lack of empathy by only treating animals like commodities and focusing on profits rather than the lives of the animals. Seeing Okja and Mija's relationship on screen humanized animals proving they have feelings and can build relationships just as we can.
Okja makes it clear that breeding animals to be eaten is not the best option for the animals. It is more beneficial to let them life their lives and let them be free. We can do this by veganizing our food choices and adopting a vegan diet. There are vegan options for every animal based product, so you don't have be deprived of taste, flavor or tradition.
The film is inspiring because it proves that fighting for animals by going vegan or being an activist can actually make a difference. It reinforces that animals want to live for themselves, not for us to eat. If you haven't watched it yet, get on Netflix and start streaming it! It's a beautiful film that holds a mirror to our actions for us to face and evaluate if this is the legacy we want to leave.