As Entertaining as a Simulated Exploding Cow

I’m a big fan of Chipotle, but not for the reason you might think.  Many people love them for their beans and burritos, but I’m a bigger fan of their commercials which artistically question the sustainability of the industrial agriculture industry without resulting to shocking imagery like PETA. Chipotle’s ads have received a lot of positive coverage for both their message and their animation.

“Back to the Start” which came out in 2011 tells the tale of a farmer who starts who starts out as a small farmer but his farm eventually becomes industrialized (see below). “The Scarecrow”, which is also a promo for a app, came out last year and is about a “Scarecrow” who works in an industrial farm. The ads include haunting covers by Willie Nelson and Fiona Appel, respectively. Both commercials warn against industrialized farming and imply that Chipotle does better.

Though both commercials are meant to manipulate viewers into steering clear of unsustainable fast food giants like McDonalds and Burger King by instead choosing “small” businesses like Chipotle, the commercials also clearly send out the message that sustainability is needed in the farming industry. The commercials do not necessarily make the viewer want to go to Chipotle, but instead seem to encourage people to buy local from farmers markets. To some that might make the Chipotle Commercials unsuccessful, but as someone who has been watching animation since childhood I think the commercials are great.

The reason I am writing this article now is because last week while I was watching Hulu, I came across Chipotle’s new streaming television series, “Farmed and Dangerous”. Having some spare time, I decided to watch it. “Farmed and Dangerous” is a satire about the industrial farming industry focusing on the team responsible for protecting the industry’s image after a video is released online of a cow blowing up after being fed coal pellets.

Though the show is a farce, characters talk about real issues, like antibiotic use, land use, animal treatment, GMOs and the byproducts of industrial farming. The show is not Emmy winning quality but it’s entertaining and makes the viewer think.

Sustainability in farming is an important issue. Industrial farming not only forces animals to live in miserable living conditions but it also puts humans lives at risk. By keeping animals in overcrowded facilities “farmers” have to pump them with antibiotics, which put everyone at risk for antibiotic resistance. Chipotle has found a way to bring up this issue gracefully.

cow via shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 15:04
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