Meat is now central to billions of people's daily meals. The environmental, climate, public health, ethical, and human impacts are enormous and remain largely undocumented. WHAT'S FOR DINNER? explores this terrain in fast-globalizing China through the eyes of a retired pig farmer in rural Jiangxi province; a vegan restaurateur in Beijing; a bullish young livestock entrepreneur; and residents of the province known as the 'world's factory' contending with water polluted by wastes from pig factory farms. They personalize the vast trends around them, in a country on the cusp of becoming a world power. Given that every fifth person in the world is Chinese, what the Chinese eat and how China produces its food, affects not only China, but the world, too.
About the film's subjects:
Dr. Tian Yongsheng is a government official and vegetarian who worries about the ecological impacts of feeding a growing livestock population.
Wang Ronghua is a young pig and poultry livestock entrepreneur is building a new pig facility in his hometown.
Wen Bo, one of China's leading environmentalists, works for National Geographic's Global Exploration Fund for China.
Wu Xiaohong is an animal welfare activist in Beijing.
Xiao Muxiu is a pig farmer whose small-scale business is threatened by the fluctuating price of pork.
Xie Hongying owns Donald Macky restaurant, a home-grown Chinese fast food outlet in Ji'an City.
Xie Zheng is a pop star, activist, and founder of the vegetarian advocacy group Don't Eat Friends.
Yu Li is the owner of Vegan Hut in Beijing.
Yi Shengming is a pig farmer in Yi village in Jianxi province.
Zhou Shuzhen is a retired pig farmer in Jiangxi province.
"What's For Dinner? documents in gripping detail China's headlong transition to industrial animal agriculture and the tragic impact it has on animals, public health, and the environment. The film triumphs in vividly highlighting the inexorable economic logic driving the consolidation of pigs into nascent CAFOs that are burgeoning across the countryside to meet China's growing demand for meat. Alongside an empathetic but critical portrayal of China's growing consumer preference for meat, "What's for Dinner?" also captures the rise of a vegan/vegetarian undercurrent that's emerging to counter the trend toward factory farming... The film would be an ideal supplement to any course exploring the environmental, economic, and ethical implications of animal agriculture.“ - James McWilliams, PhD, Author
Academia Film Olomouc 50th International Festival of Science Documentary Films, Czech Republic
Official Selection, 2012 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Official Selection, 2012 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Official Selection, 2012 Osian's-Cinefan Festival
Official Selection, 2011 Awareness Film Festival
Official Selection, 2011 Green Film Festival, Seoul
Official Selection, 2011 San Diego Asian Film Festival
"What's for Dinner? brings into sharp contrast the China of today and the China of twenty years ago. It is an easily absorbable film that can be used as a learning tool for any student interested in the potential impacts of meat consumption on the earth writ large, including chronic diseases and the environment. It also highlights the influence of Western culture and economic affluence on eating patterns across the world, a phenomenon that will be of interest to anyone studying or teaching global public health. A highly recommended film." - Amy Joyce, Associate Director, Public Health Practice, NYU Global Institute of Public Health
"What's For Dinner is an urgent and compelling documentary about the globalization of industrial meat production. It documents the consequences of rising meat consumption in China, detailing its impact on health, labor, animal welfare, and the environment. I can attest to the pedagogical and political power of this film." - Maria Elena Garcia, Director, Comparative History of Ideas Program, University of Washington
"What’s For Dinner? is a powerful teaching tool. The film is engaging for lay audiences and sophisticated enough for experts in related fields — I would highly recommend to both." - Mark Foran, MD, MPH, NYU School of Medicine
"We often read about the environmental and health impacts of food production in the US, but what about in rapidly growing China? What's For Dinner? introduces us to the challenges of large-scale animal agriculture in China. It surveys the "big picture" - food shortages, industrialization, and environmental impact - through a set of clear, engaging interviews and personal stories. This is an excellent film for environmental studies or other students interested in the origins and impacts posed by animal agriculture in a global context." - Christopher P. Schlottmann, Associate Director of Environmental Studies, New York University
"What's For Dinner?" delivers an insightful presentation of the many challenges posed by China's expanding animal agriculture." - Peter J. Li, Associate Professor of East Asian Politics, University of Houston-Downtown
"I used What's For Dinner? for the first time in my Animals in Commodities class in the Canisius College Anthrozoology Masters program last semester... The students found the film very useful in helping us to look at the connections between meat production and consumption, status, and globalization." - Margo DeMello, Professor of Sociology, Cultural Studies and Anthropology, Canisius College and Central New Mexico Community College
"In China nothing is done on a small-scale, so the exploding growth in meat consumption has created staggering levels of water pollution from factory farms. What's For Dinner? doesn't preach, but rather lets the story unfold thorough conversations with farmers, meat processors talking about their booming business, shoppers at the market, and communities angered by their fouled rivers." - Jennifer Turner, Director, China Environment Forum, Woodrow Wilson Center