Animal Rights

'Okja' Is Inspiring Viewers to Consider an Important Ethical Question: Are Animals Friends or Food? (Video)

A film about a powerful interspecies friendship is inspiring many people to stop eating meat.

Photo Credit: Netflix

The moving and powerful new movie Okja, now streaming on Netflix, is getting rave reviews and prompting viewers to consider their food choices, looking beyond the food on their plates to the once-living animals who ended up there.

The character Okja is a genetically engineered "superpig," bred by the massive, fictitious (but clearly Monsanto-inspired) Mirando corporation, which ultimately sees her as profitable food.

But to the brave young hero of the film, a girl named Mija who has grown up in the mountains of Korea with Okja by her side, this smart, playful and loving animal is family.


We see Okja save Mija’s life, and as the film takes a harrowing turn for the pig she loves, Mija sets out in an attempt to return the favor. Their beautiful interspecies friendship, in spite of all obstacles, is a big part of what makes this movie a must-see.

But the powerful message in "Okja”—a film the Independent says, "might just turn you vegan”—is reaching a wide, general audience, and there has been an immediate response from viewers, who are searching for information on vegan eating, donating to animal protection groups and changing their food choices.

Okja's sweet and knowing face, and the love between her and Mija (much like the love many of us share with our dogs and cats) has moved many viewers to consider the billions of real-life pigs and other animals killed for food each year, who are much like Okja, but who suffer daily, hidden from the public eye behind the walls of factory farms.

Compassion Over Killing investigators have exposed the horrific cruelty pigs endure in the meat industry, from breeding to slaughter. But did you know that pigs recognize each other, alert other pigs to danger—and that pigs are smarter than dogs?

The questions "Okja” may leave you with as the credits roll is, Are the animals on my plate really so different from Okja, and what can I do to help them?

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This article was originally published by Compassion Over Killing.

Watch the trailer forOkja:

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