SWINE: The film
This is an interview with the fillmmakers that created SWINE, a short film commissioned by VIVA!, a UK animal rights charity.
SWINE is a collaboration between Robbie Lockie and Damien Clarkson. Robbie is a filmmaker, digital creative director and founder of La Verita Studios, a London based film and arts creative studio. Damien is a filmmaker, journalist, writer and founder of Growing Box, a London based communications agency. The film was commissioned by VIVA!, a UK animal rights charity.
Why the interest in antibiotic resistance?
RL: We had seen Dame Sally Davies speak at TEDx in London a few years ago talking about the fact that antibiotic resistance would soon become a reality if we didn't do something about it.
DC: I had actually had direct experience of antibiotic resistant superbugs. In 2003, my Grandad died from MRSA after contracting it during a routine hernia operation. Since then it has always been on my radar, so when Robbie and I started discussing film ideas I was keen that we shone a light on this issue. Robbie’s interest in the issue and the dire situation concerning the rise in societal antibiotic resistance convinced us this was the right film to make.
How can consuming less meat help reduce drug resistance?
RL: As vegans we won't ever support the consumption of meat, however, specifically on the topic of microbial resistance, it would make sense to put pressure on farmers to avoid using antibiotics so regularly. There needs to be stronger controls in place. What we find incredibly depressing is that in the early 1950’s there were warnings issued by scientists in parliament on this matter but these people were laughed out of the building. Factory farming is hugely profitable, so change may only come when disaster strikes. Greed seems unstoppable at times.
DC: We’re want a global shift to a vegan diet, we know this can provide all the nutrition we need to be happy and healthy. Sadly, when it comes to pigs who are the main animal in focus in this documentary 93% are raised in factory farms. It is therefore very difficult to find animal products free from antibiotic exposure, even organic free-range animals are subject to antibiotic treatments.
What are your plans to distribute the short film?
RL: At the moment we are focused on social media, but would love to show it at film festivals. Suggestions welcome! We had a sold-out preview screening at The Trampery on the 8th July, afterwards we received a standing ovation from the audience which was flattering. We have been using social media to distribute the film to date and over the coming months we are looking to show it in more locations with the next big screening due to happen at Vevolution festival in London to 400 people.
So the film's angle is how meat consumption not only contributes to animal cruelty, but to drug resistance?
RL: SWINE investigates the misuse of antibiotics in factory farms, revealing some shocking truths about the increasing ineffectiveness of the world’s most important antibiotics due to standard farming practices. Due to demand farmers across the world are under ever increasing pressure to produce more animals with less space and less resources. Antibiotics often used under the guise of disease prevention have in fact been used to promote animal growth.
RL: We are hugely over reliant on meat as a society. We are hooked on animal products that receive huge government subsidies that artificially keep prices incredibly low. Despite huge progress in animal rights in the past 30 years we still live in a world where animals lives are virtually worthless. This means that the majority of animals killed around the world live their short lives in factory farms. Our desire for cheap meat means that appalling conditions of factory farms are allowed to occur. We call on everyone who watches this film to give up pork and start on the path to adopting a vegan lifestyle. We need to tell the world that factory farms are not acceptable. Even if you don’t want to adopt a vegan lifestyle once you see how animals are treated in factory farms there is no way we can continue to support their existence as a society. People choosing to eat meat supporting an industry with mostly appalling welfare conditions and a strong reliance on antibiotics. The horrific conditions of factory farms and reliance on our most important antibiotics are the driving force behind the rise of superbugs.
A variety of films about antibiotic resistance
The Evolution of Bacteria on a “Mega-Plate” Petri Dish, Harvard Medical School
What causes antibiotic resistance?, Kevin Wu for TED-E
What do we do when antibiotics don't work anymore?, Maryn McKenna for TED Talks
Will antibiotic resistant superbugs kill us all?, Life Nuggins