Last Chance for Animals campaigns through the award-winning meat consumption short film Casa de Carne, directed by Dustin Brown.
The discussion about the ethics behind the consumption of meat by human beings has been a long-standing one, and there is a vast array of opinions surrounding the topic across the world. One of the most popular arguments against the consumption of meat centres around animal cruelty and many people argue that if most meat-eaters had to kill their own food, they may view meat consumption differently. This is the idea that the short film Casa de Carne explores.
Casa de Carne was released by Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit organization founded in 1985. It is “dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and media attention.” The film was written and directed by Dustin Brown, who himself is dedicated to telling socially conscious stories. It is critically acclaimed and won many awards, including Best Short Film at the International Vegan Film Festival.
Casa de Carne is presented through the lens of Eric, one of three friends, preparing to order a meal at the titular restaurant, which is said to “take the dining experience full-circle”. Eric orders the baby back ribs and is taken to the back of the restaurant, where he is given a knife and an apron and led into a room with a pig. He is expected to slaughter and butcher the pig for the ribs he ordered.
Casa de Carne is a social commentary on meat consumption and the detachment between the product and the life that it came from. The film asks its viewers the question: “If you cannot kill animals, why consume them? If you can sympathise with animals being killed, why consume them?”
The short film highlights the detachment most people feel towards the meat industry. We never have to kill, watch or hear animals being slaughtered for meat and other readily available animal products. Steaks are cooked for us in restaurants and if we must cook at home, butchered meat is available at our nearest supermarkets.
People have forgotten that our meats and animal products had to be taken from a living, breathing animal. It seems that we have become so detached from the process of producing animal products that we have forgotten that animals have to die for our consumption. Only when we are faced with the reality, like Eric, do we become truly aware. And it is this awareness that the film aims to provide.
Brown tells LCA: “Now more than ever, we need stories that expand our circle of empathy and allow us to see the world through a more compassionate lens.” Casa de Carne reminds us of the reality behind the animal products we consume. Although most people are aware of what goes into producing animal products, the manner in which we consume them seems to suggest that we have forgotten this reality or have set it aside because of its inconvenience.
Casa de Carne jolts its viewers into remembering and looking beyond the steak on our plates and the packages that snatch any semblance of life that existed before it ended up on our plates. The film aims to guide its viewers into seeing the products as more than just food and, as Brown says, “expand [their] circle of empathy”.
Our meats and the animal products we enjoy, like Eric’s meal, have consequences. We often forget this. Modernisation and the industries that have come with it have successfully widened the gap between the animals that lived and the food we eat. As a result, we have forgotten what happens to the animals before they make their way onto our plates, on our backs or in our make-up.
Casa de Carne serves as a reminder of the reality we’ve forgotten, or ignored. It closes the gap and shows us the full circle. Most of us would not be able to slaughter or watch an animal be slaughtered for the meat we enjoy, so why consume meat? It’s a strong argument.