My grandchildren are watching the movie “Babe”, a 1995 movie about a cute talking pig. The farmer wins Babe at a contest, and enters a sheep herding competition (Babe entering the contest in the role of a Border Collie).
The movie is sweet, entertaining and well made.
It is also a movie that makes me feel guilty about eating and enjoying my lechon and other pork dishes (and this after I just posted a story about the piggy….see My Germany and Philippines connection).
There are many talking animals in the movie, including a neurotic little duck named Ferdinand….thank goodness we don’t eat much duck!
The animals differentiate themselves by which animals the human “bosses” eat.
The house cat tells Babe “Pigs don’t have a purpose but to be eaten by humans.” Which makes Babe realize what happened to his mother, father, sisters and brothers at the at the farm operation where he was born.
The cat adds “Bosses have to eat…they call it pork, ham, bacon…they only call them pigs when they are alive.”
I remember having discussions about eating meat with my friend Patrick. His family had a farm in Germany. His perspective, coming from a farming family was that we raised these animals for the sole purpose of eating them, so in essence, the farm-raised ones at least, would not exist without us.
The movie –and thinking about farm animals and then chickens — also reminded me of my Auntie Terrie. When I was a teenager in the Philippines, my Auntie Terrie, came to visit and decided to teach me how to cook. She was a good cook and I recall that she had a little turo-turo restaurant (translates to point-point — Philippine fast food style eateries), and at one point ran a factory cafeteria.
She took me to the market, where we purchased a live chicken. Odd to think about that live chicken in our baskets among other food and produce we purchased. The chicken was tucked in the space under our seat on the jeepney ride home.
At home, she showed me how to kill the chicken and prepare it for cooking. To her it was just a matter of fact act, and she was passing this knowledge to me. And I was OK with this (though I have not had to buy a live chicken to cook since then–thankfully). I wonder how many of us would actually eat meat if we had to take part in killing the animal that we consume.
So…this blog post goes from discussing the movie “Babe” to the topic of meat-eating. And oh dear, my conflicted feelings since I love animals (I had a friend who use to call our home Dr. Doolittle’s house at a time when we had 3 dogs and 2 cats, a fish tank and a hamster)….and that also, I like to eat certain animals.
Maybe that is the point and the goal of the movie…..beyond entertainment. To make you think about this —- and to promote becoming a vegetarian.
I googled “movie Babe about pig, vegetarians” and turns out the actor James Cromwell, who played farmer Arthur Hoggett, is a vegetarian and active in animal rights. He was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category for this movie role.
Babe was a box office and critical success when it was released.
Have you seen the movie? Did it make you have second thoughts about eating meat or did you become a vegetarian as a result?