Smith: Reflecting on life choices

Reflecting on the impact of life choices is something Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith focuses on in her daily life, especially when watching movies or TV shows about hot topics.

Sage Smith

All this time at home means more time to catch up with my “want to see” movies list, and this weekend I watched “Okja,” and I had a lot of thoughts.

“Okja” is a 2017 film about these super pigs that were distributed to farms all over the world. A super pig is an animal that resembles a pig but it is much larger, and advertised to “leave a minimal footprint on the environment,” require less food, “produce less excretions” and taste good.

The movie focuses on a specific pig named kja who has been taken care of by a girl named Mija in South Korea.

Once those pigs had gotten to a certain age, a little competition began to see who was the best. Okja, who once was a small baby, was now a very large and impressive super pig, so she was shipped off to New York to be forcibly bred and eventually killed and sold for meat.

I was slightly worried to watch this movie because I’ve had friends warn me about it having “traumatizing” scenes, and I am a vegetarian, so I suppose they were worried about the harsh conditions and treatments the animals experienced.

Of course, some of the movie was graphic and hard to watch, but I’ve seen videos and photos of much worse that isn’t computer animation. I wanted to focus on what the movie did well, though.

I’m all for movies that make people think and evaluate their choices, and I think this movie did that perfectly. It’s so important to consider how living creatures are treated, and I often worry about the consciousness of people regarding that treatment.

I think this movie points out how oftentimes life can get out of control. We become so used to the way of things, and once we’ve normalized it, it’s very easy to take a step too far out. “Okja” shows how that can happen with food production.

The Mirando Corporation, which is the organization running this little super pig experiment, is full of people looking out for what’s best for them and how to get the biggest bang for their buck. They weren’t considerate of the well-being of the super pigs or the humans who cared about saving Okja and the other animals.

The movie shows violence against the members of the Animal Liberation Front, a group that tries to save animals from less-than-ideal circumstances. Those with the Mirando Corporation are also less than kind to Mija, bringing her along just as an emotional tactic to improve the reputation of the organization after footage was released of them forcibly taking Mija into custody.

Another aspect of the movie I appreciated is how the Animal Liberation Front and Mija were able to make a difference by publicly showing a video of the cruel treatment Okja experienced while behind closed doors. They were also able to rescue Okja and return her to her South Korea home.

The groups and little girl being successful in their rescue mission and exposing Mirando Corporation show that if we care enough and put forth effort toward the issues we are passionate about, we can make a true positive difference.

This isn’t a “call to action” to stop consuming meat and animal byproducts, but rather, just be aware of where your food, clothing, makeup, etc. comes from. And be careful, remember to reflect on all of your life choices. Consider those  animals and otherwise  who may be negatively impacted by your decisions.