Fear not, pet food fans, the documentary Pet Food: A Dog’s Breakfast has been prevented from ever vanishing again. The expose on the pet food industry, pulled from scheduled programming on American television earlier this year and thus far only seen by a Canadian television audiences, surfaced recently on YouTube. Internet audiences concerned that the video may vanish again, no longer have to worry, thanks to the quick action of a blogger (me!).
A Dog’s Breakfast will be available here, on Poisoned Pets, on permanent loan from the internet to Poisoned Pet’s Media Library, (aka the Skeleton Closet). The future of A Dog’s Breakfast now remains safely nestled in the internet cloud, free forever from the clutches of those that would have it disappear again.
Despite the joy of the film’s re-emergence, some pet parents already familiar with the dark side of commercial pet food, may fail to appreciate that the film-makers of A Dog’s Breakfast had the task of negotiating a difficult subject and making it populist, accessible to the general viewer, and commercially successful without compromising the integrity of the piece. While that may not be the goal of activists and those mourning the loss of a pet poisoned by a commercial pet food, it remains the goal of film-makers wishing to have their work accessible to a mass audience.
Mainstream television and press is particularly sensitive to the needs of their advertisers and sponsors of whom they are beholden too. Programming offending or outwardly critical of one of their sponsors would naturally bring criticism from their sponsors and pressure from executives in charge of programming content. If concessions had not been made, one can only assume, the film would not have appeared on television in Canada on CBC. As evidence, despite the film’s concessions, the more conservative American television programming producers ultimately decided against airing A Dog’s Breakfast in February 2011 after all.
Problems such as these go to the heart of the economic interests corporate America places over ethics. Neither philosopher or ethicist, I am woefully ill-equipped to untangle or even understand the complexity of the problems facing independent journalists and film makers today. Yet, I feel confident in believing that A Dog’s Breakfast would have made a positive contribution to changing of mainstream America’s consciousness about the commercial pet food industry.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. — Ghandi