What's for Dinner?

From The dGenerate Films Collection

Directed by Jian Yi

29 minutes / Color
English subtitles
Release: 2014
Copyright: 2013

Meat is now central to billions of people's daily meals. The environmental, climate, public health, ethical, and human impacts are enormous and remain largely undocumented. WHAT'S FOR DINNER? explores this terrain in fast-globalizing China through the eyes of a retired pig farmer in rural Jiangxi province; a vegan restaurateur in Beijing; a bullish young livestock entrepreneur; and residents of the province known as the 'world's factory' contending with water polluted by wastes from pig factory farms. They personalize the vast trends around them, in a country on the cusp of becoming a world power. Given that every fifth person in the world is Chinese, what the Chinese eat and how China produces its food, affects not only China, but the world, too.

About the film's subjects:

Dr. Tian Yongsheng is a government official and vegetarian who worries about the ecological impacts of feeding a growing livestock population.

Wang Ronghua is a young pig and poultry livestock entrepreneur is building a new pig facility in his hometown.

Wen Bo, one of China's leading environmentalists, works for National Geographic's Global Exploration Fund for China.

Wu Xiaohong is an animal welfare activist in Beijing. film still

Xiao Muxiu is a pig farmer whose small-scale business is threatened by the fluctuating price of pork.

Xie Hongying owns Donald Macky restaurant, a home-grown Chinese fast food outlet in Ji'an City.

Xie Zheng is a pop star, activist, and founder of the vegetarian advocacy group Don't Eat Friends.

Yu Li is the owner of Vegan Hut in Beijing.

Yi Shengming is a pig farmer in Yi village in Jianxi province.

Zhou Shuzhen is a retired pig farmer in Jiangxi province.

"WHAT’S FOR DINNER? documents in gripping detail China's headlong transition to industrial animal agriculture and the tragic impact it has on animals, public health, and the environment. The film triumphs in vividly highlighting the inexorable economic logic driving the consolidation of pigs into nascent CAFOs that are burgeoning across the countryside to meet China's growing demand for meat… the film would be an ideal supplement to any course exploring the environmental, economic, and ethical implications of animal agriculture." —James McWilliams, Professor, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

"In China nothing is done on a small-scale, so the exploding growth in meat consumption has created staggering levels of water pollution from factory farms. WHAT’S FOR DINNER? doesn't preach, but rather lets the story unfold through conversations with farmers, meat processors talking about their booming business, shoppers at the market, and communities angered by their fouled rivers." —Jennifer Turner, Director, China Environment Forum, Woodrow Wilson Center

"WHAT’S FOR DINNER? introduces us to the challenges of large-scale animal agriculture in China. It surveys the ‘big picture’ — food shortages, industrialization, and environmental impact — through a set of clear, engaging interviews and personal stories. This is an excellent film for environmental studies or other students interested in the origins and impacts posed by animal agriculture in a global context." —Christopher P. Schlottmann, Associate Director of Environmental Studies, New York University

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Select Accolades

  • Academia Film Olomouc 50th International Festival of Science Documentary Films, Czech Republic
  • Official Selection, 2012 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
  • Official Selection, 2012 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
  • Official Selection, 2012 Osian's-Cinefan Festival
  • Official Selection, 2011 Awareness Film Festival
  • Official Selection, 2011 Green Film Festival, Seoul
  • Official Selection, 2011 San Diego Asian Film Festival


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