For at least the 3rd time I have corrected an obvious lie in a documentary short only to have the filmmaker remove the comments and run away from the argument and any contrary viewpoint. This time I am calling them out.

Gus shows a horrific clip of rendering. Rendering is a process where diseased animals that have died on farms are processed usually for fertilizer or sometimes glue. These animals are never entered into the food system. The cow in the clip appears alive because the machine rattles the body animating it. I wrote Gus about this and he said he was being symbolic and refused to correct the error. What makes it especially egregious is that he says in the description that this is standard practice.

As a filmmaker I don’t think the ends justify the means and I seek only truth. I certainly am not obligated to present a balanced view or equal time but I cannot lie intentionally to advance a point of view no matter how noble I feel it is.

As I told Gus, I respect Vegans and vegetarians and there are plenty of factual arguments to be made for that choice without lying about it. The video is rife with other distortions and simplistic thinking but I am focused on the one clear lie.

Gus admitted in private that his representation was inaccurate but he hides behind two principles. He claims his film is symbolic and not a documentary. He further claims that he doesn’t need to defend the meat industry and that he believes it is evil and guilty of atrocities- basically an ends justify the means argument.

My response:
I think you are smart enough to know my point by now and are using some verbal linguistics to justify your lie. The clip of the cow is the practice called rendering- which has nothing to do with food, you probably didn’t know that when you put it in the video. So you were guilty of not doing your homework and probably mislead yourself by another advocate. If you’d updated your description to reflect this I would still have complaints but they’d be more about distortions and simplification not outright lies. Once you were made aware of this fact and chose to ignore it- you become a liar- that is willfully propagating a falsehood. Your film is narrative and documentary and you clearly maintain that with the description. I don’t have one cent invested in the meat industry and have actually done work for PETA in the past believe it or not. (I was paid and do not agree with many of their methods). What you are really saying is the ends justify the means- and you are right I fundamentally disagree on that account. A filmmaker interested in longevity and maintaining their character wouldn’t be intellectually lazy. I could make a powerful film advocating veganism without telling any lies. That film would have more of a chance in reaching people and actually changing minds. What you are doing is preaching to a choir and people that do not have the time or inclination to really understand the truth which is more complicated. They want strong emotional appeals that back up their sense of moral superiority, not reason and logic.

Here is Gus’s short it is very graphic so be warned:


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