Stuck in the Meatrix
By Sangamithra Iyer
Two years ago, I fell in love with Moopheus, the wise,
informative bovine guru in the flash animation short The Meatrix, which
to take the red pill and learn the truth about where their meat and
animal products come from. Global Resource Action Center for the Environment
(GRACE) worked with Free Range Graphics to put together this informative
cartoon spoof of the sci-fi movie The Matrix. GRACE’s factory
farm project is geared toward shutting down concentrated animal feeding
operations and empowering and supporting communities and local farmers.
The Meatrix ends with a link to their “Eat Well” guide
to sustainable meat, eggs and dairy. While not the vegan message I
was hoping for, the animation alone exposing the social, environmental
and animal cruelty problems affiliated with factory farms could turn
people off of animal products entirely.
This spring, the Meatrix II: Revolting came out, focusing on dairy products.
I’m a sucker for the dairy cows, so any attention brought to their plight
is appreciated. But something about this sequel left me feeling unsettled.
In the opening scene, Moopheus explains how in the past two years, 10 million
minds were freed from the Meatrix, showing customers buying “grass-fed” meat, “pasture
raised” eggs and “organic” milk. My initial response was to
ask, but were any lives freed?
Moopheus brings viewers to the modern day dairy factory, shedding light on the
confinement, the poop, antibiotic overuse, and artificial hormones dairy cows
are subject to. It shows the babies being separated from their mothers and fed
cow blood, indicating the potential for mad cow disease. But it ends with the
feeble message, “There are still small family farms where you can get your
dairy. Together we can stop the Meatrix.”
Is this what my beloved Moopheus wants? I understand that GRACE promotes smaller
agriculture, and I recognize large-scale operations are often exponentially worse
for animals, people and the environment than small-scale ones. However, we must
recognize the reason we eat and drink as many animal products as we do is because
of factory farming. If we want to combat factory farms, we must reduce or eliminate
our consumption of animal products, not merely replace them with “more
We must also look more deeply into what “sustainable” really means. The
Meatrix II failed to mention the forced and repeated impregnation of dairy
cows, the use of “rape racks,” and the keeping of male studs. While
it showed the young separated from their mothers, it didn’t identify them
as veal. It neglects to report that at the end of her short, exploited life,
the dairy cow will also be slaughtered for meat. Perhaps these horrors were omitted
because they remain true for small operations as well as the big factories.
In the opening scene, organic milk was identified as a “sustainable” choice
made by “freed minds,” but the Meatrix II ignores the fact that Horizon
and Aurora, the country’s biggest organic dairies, run their operations
just like factory farms, with intensification, feedlots and vast pollution.
There has been an awakening over the past several years about the horrors of
industrial animal agriculture. People want to reject the abuse and not fill their
bodies with pesticides and antibiotics. They are seeking more animal-and eco-friendly
labels. But if we stop there, never really questioning our meat, egg and dairy
consumption, and never really looking at the faces at the source of our meals,
no matter how “humanely” or “sustainably” raised, aren’t
we just taking a different blue pill?
The truth is, so long as we continue eating meat and other animal products, we
keep ourselves and the animals trapped in the meatrix.
I, for one, would rather stay true to Moopheus and his sister cows and wash my
red pill down with a frosty vegan milkshake.
To view the Meatrix II, visit www.meatrix2.com.
© STEALTH TECHNOLOGIES INC.