Directed by: Matt Wechsler & Annie Speicher
Released: 2019 (educational)
Year of Production: 2018
Running Time: 75 min & 35 min Edu. Version
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects: Agriculture, Environmental Studies
*Includes Educational Discussion Guide
Through the riveting stories of five rural communities, Right to Harm exposes the devastating public health impact factory farming has on many disadvantaged citizens throughout the United States. Filmed across the country, the documentary chronicles the failures of state agencies to regulate industrial animal agriculture. Known formally as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – or CAFOs – these facilities produce millions of gallons of untreated waste that destroys the quality of life for nearby neighbors.
The film features agricultural economist John Ikerd, who abandoned industry beliefs after a 14-year career as a livestock marketing specialist. After the farm crisis of the 1980s he realized, “The farmers who were in the biggest trouble, were the ones doing the things we so-called experts were telling them to do.”
Right to Harm tracks the tribulations and triumphs of rural residents across America who are victims of the past 50 years of agricultural consolidation and the consequential laws that now govern the land. Fed up with the lack of regulation, these disenfranchised citizens band together to demand justice from their legislators.
Filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher skillfully weave together five stories that span eight states from the Southwest to the Midwest to the Eastern Shore. Farmers, mothers, scientists and politicians share intimate stories of how their lives were forever changed by factory farming. Right to Harm is an enlightening exploration that questions whether citizens are entitled to clean air and water, while examining the political issues that stand in the way of nationwide reform.
Winner and Special Mention for the Award of Excellence, 2019 Accolade Global Film Competition
"An issue that speaks to the very core of who we are-as humans, as communities, and as a country." – Tablet Magazine
"The film is heartbreaking in its look at how profit over people seems to rule the industrial animal agriculture industry. At the same time, it’s also empowering to see how communities are banding together to voice their concerns and to take a stand against these profit hungry giants." - Documentary Drive
About the filmmaker
Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher are a husband-and-wife filmmaking team from Evanston, Illinois with a passion for sustainable agriculture. Their first collaboration, SUSTAINABLE, screened at over 40 festivals worldwide and received the 2016 Global Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Achievement.When not making films, Matt and Annie enjoy spending time with their two children, who are the reason they fight for a better food system. In the summers, you can find them working in their backyard urban farm, which features over 75 varieties of edible plants
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