CPH:DOX Review: Just Animals

Veganism has never been so popular. Arguably, the main contributing factor is the growing awareness of how we treat animals. Not to mention the chain of events which bring livestock to our plates. Animal welfare activists have tried all manner of approaches to get issues the media attention they deserve, over the years, but it generally ends up being direct action that has the greatest impact. It’s often the most divisive approach, as well.

Ten years ago, Saila Kivelä was one of a group of campaigners who broke into and filmed the practices in numerous Finnish animal farms. She admitted trespass and faced a three-year legal battle where the owners sought huge amounts in compensation. She believed once people saw the horror, things would quickly change. They haven’t. Her sister chose a different path and decided to run for parliament. Saila must now decide how she can make a difference.

Just Animals is a film which gives Saila, who is also the director, the chance to analyse her options and choose what form her activism will take going forward. Her friend Kristo still takes direct action, but she can’t bear to witness the inhumanity of industrial food production methods. While the political route takes so long and involves unacceptable compromises. Just Animals is a fascinating treatise on the nature of modern activism.

Just Animals screened at CPH:DOX.

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