Here at Thats a wrap 2016 I am excited to feature the latest project of documentary film maker and Coventry University lecturer Meera Darji. Based in Leicester, Meera speaks to me about her latest documentary film ‘Glass Walls’, a revealing and harrowing look at the realities of the dairy and animal agricultural industry. Meera, who is a passionate about social issues and giving a platform to the voiceless, aims to strike a chord with audiences through the powerful medium of film.
Her past projects include the award winning documentary ‘Transindia’ which explores the Hijra group in India. More recently the impressive ‘Majoor 9195’ a documentary on female construction workers in India which is currently in post-production.
‘Glass Walls’ is still in production and follows Dina Aherne, a lawyer and animal rights advocate as part of Leicestershire Animal Save.
The main purpose of this documentary is to expose the realities of the dairy and animal agricultural industry and the unfortunate cruelty innocent animals have to suffer despite best efforts to follow ‘humane’ methods. It aims to promote the path of a vegan diet. Right now, through an observational approach Meera has been following Dina’s journey of peaceful demonstrations and protests outside slaughterhouses where vigils are held and they bear witness to cows before slaughter. She has also witnessed talks on raising awareness in city centres and vegan fairs.
Meera is currently gathering material for this exclusive documentary and aiming to raise awareness on both the film and the movement.
In fact as we speak, Dina’s recent Facebook post exposing selfies taken by slaughterhouse workers has gone viral hitting over 1.7K comments and shares.
Dina and the save group have also received significant media attention.
As well as working on the documentary Meera is also hoping to approach this topic in a more artistic way. The film maker will be releasing short experimental films aiming to challenge audiences, they are currently in production and will be released as short clips on Facebook and YouTube.
Meera shares the documentary’s beginnings:
“I first met Dina Aherne in the city centre during one of their Earthlings Experience. Immediately I was moved by the shocking footage playing on the screens. What really engaged me to the group was the fact they were exposing the ‘truth’, capturing the truth is my main purpose through my documentaries. I began researching more into Animal Rights and gradually built a rapport with Dina. I asked if I could follow her journey which led me to filming one of their vigils at a local Slaughterhouse in Melton Mowbray.
I think this was the turning point and since that day I became vegan. Whilst filming the trucks bringing in groups of innocent cows covered in faeces, I was appalled with the conditions they were kept in.
You could see the pain and fear in their eyes. I simply couldn’t believe the pain that they were about to go through. As a vegetarian I believed that I was doing no harm. But once I found out about the realities of the dairy and egg industry through Dina, I couldn’t turn away from the truth. This film is about exposing the truth and showing the journey of Dina and the Animal Save movement.
I really admire what Paul McCartney says ‘They say that if a slaughterhouse were made of glass walls then people would stop eating meat.’ We are those glass walls.”
Lawyer and animal rights advocate Dina Aherne also revealed the importance of tackling animal slaughter:
“There is a reason why most slaughterhouses are not in urban areas. There is a reason why we do not regularly see lorries full of animals (livestock) in and around the areas most people live, considering we slaughter 8 billion animals in the UK alone! The animal agricultural industry works hard to ensure that the disconnect between the meat & the animal remains large.
We are working to eradicate that disconnect.
Those that consume meat and dairy must know the truth of what goes on in these industries. We are working to ensure people are made aware of exactly what the process is for slaughter including the systematic breeding of these animals, the journey of these animals to the slaughterhouse and the realities of the insides of the slaughterhouse.”
Glass Walls in currently in production. For more information on the documentary and Meera’s work visit meeraproductions.com
Follow Meera on social media
Facebook: Meera Darji
YouTube: Meera Darji