Korean director Bong Joon-ho has been named Person of the Year by PETA for inspiring people to leave animals off their plates with his groundbreaking Netflix original movie Okja.
The playful “super-pig” protagonist of Bong’s film, Okja, and her loving guardian, Mija, show 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 said, “With Okja I want to show the beauty that can exist between man and animal, and also the horror between them.”
Okja exhibits behavior similar to that displayed by pigs in their natural surroundings. They’re social, playful, and protective animals who bond with each other and with humans. They make nests, relax in the sun, and cool off in the mud. They’re known to dream, recognize their own names, learn tricks (such as sitting for a treat), and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates. They also show empathy for other pigs who are happy or distressed. Pigs are individuals—some love to cuddle, while others prefer personal space.
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.
Anyone who’s inspired by Okja and horrified by the suffering that real pigs endure in the meat industry can help animals in their own lives simply by not eating them. With many delicious recipes to choose from and helpful tips, our How to Go Vegan page makes it easier than ever to make the switch.