Okja Director’s Groundbreaking Netflix Film Inspires People to Leave Animals off Their Plates

For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2017

Seoul ― For coming to the defense of animals used for food with his seminal film Okja, Korean director Bong Joon-ho has been named Person of the Year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Through its playful “super-pig” protagonist, Okja, and her loving guardian, Mija, Bong’s film shows viewers that, like humans, animals are individuals who have families and form friendships when given the chance, are capable of a wide range of emotions, and value their own lives. In a statement, Bong once said, “With Okja I want to show the beauty that can exist between man and animal, and also the horror between them.” The film reaches its climax in a slaughterhouse where hundreds of other “Okjas” are being violently killed—an accurate depiction of the bloody everyday reality for pigs, cows, chickens, and other animals in Asia and around the world.

“Bong Joon-ho’s bracingly realistic film puts a face and a name to the millions of animals slaughtered for food every year,” says PETA Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA is honored to recognize this pioneering director for his compassionate heart, mind, and achievements for animals.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that in today’s meat industry, mother pigs are kept in barren crates so small that they can’t even turn around and piglets’ tails are cut off, their teeth are clipped, and the males are castrated, all without painkillers. At the slaughterhouse, pigs’ brief, miserable lives end when they’re hung upside down and their throats are slit, often while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain.

Every person who goes vegan spares more than 100 animals a year prolonged suffering and a terrifying death, and PETA encourages anyone who is moved by Okja’s story and horrified by the suffering that real pigs endure in the meat industry to help animals simply by not eating them.

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