Image via Vimeo screenshot.
The setting of Kris Hofmann's short filmBreakfast is a child's bedroom, with a bookshelf of stuffed animals beside a desk with a set of wooden blocks that depict a bucolic farm scene. The narrator begins by describing the life of a chicken named Harriet, who "would have been more than happy if she was not crammed into a windowless shed with 50,000 of her friends."
And so Breakfast becomes something of a horror film, one that reveals the connections between our morning meal and the realities of factory farming.
The film recounts the lives of Harriet, Eleanor the cow and Arthur the pig. Each time, the Winnie the Pooh-like tranquility is shattered by what the animals' lives are really like. Arthur's story is the most gut-wrenching, but not by much. With a leg that has been broken for days, he wants a quick death, but doesn't hold out hope. The loud, pained squeals make the calmly narrated horror visceral.
Hofmann is a filmmaker, animator and designer who wanted to highlight the discrepancy between the love many breakfast-eaters show for their pets and their disregard for the suffering of other animals:
A few years ago my boyfriend and I took his seven year old daughter Jessica fishing. When Jessica caught a fish I tried to take it from her so that I could kill it and cook it for dinner. She started to scream, totally outraged by the thought of eating this beautiful creature. We threw the fish back into the lake and instead went to a local supermarket to buy food, Jessica chose fish fingers.
'Breakfast' was inspired by this lost connection between the food we eat and the animals we love.
Factory farms indulge in disturbing practices that make the prospect of eating revolting. They're bad for humans, too (more urinary tract infections) yet we're still passing laws protecting them. Even Oprah is in on it.
Breakfast doesn't provide any facts about factory farms, nor does it issue an express call for action. But that wasn't Hofmann's intent: the film is meant to make viewers think about where our food comes from, the first and vital step towards reforming a broken food system.
Breakfast has been selected for more than 30 international film festivals.
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More on factory farming:
Is Eating Meat the Best Way to Fight Factory Farms? Our Readers Respond
One Tenacious Woman Makes Headway Against Factory Farms in Michigan
7 Reasons Not to Eat Factory-Farmed Food