The filmmakers then proceed to document five rural communities engaging in the political fight at both the city and state levels. Once word gets out that a new CAFO is going to be built, the community has to organize and fight it in city council meetings—often falling on deaf ears. These organizers are volunteering their precious time, as there is no money. Now compare that the million-dollar corporate lawyers they fight against. Once the small communities are close to gaining a victory, the corporations go to the state, wherein new restrictions on their ability to sue these corporations are voted on. To make matters worse, at the same time, the state politicians reduce regulations and provide financing for these corporations to expand.
The subjects in Right to Harm includes average citizens who dreamed of living a quiet life on a farm; citizens who are living in economically depressed regions, who can’t afford to live in healthier, cleaner areas (a racial argument); community organizers who hope to rally support; and an agricultural economist, who once advocated for corporate farming, who now sees the effects of the slippery slope of corporate greed. It’s going to break your heart. I know the filmmakers are cherry-picking some of the worst words from the lawyers and politicians, but man, your blood is going to boil at some of the things these guys say.
”…the effects of the slippery slope of corporate greed. It’s going to break your heart.”
Right To Harm is a one-sided political film, and I generally like to find balance in these documentaries. But movies like this are the only voice these communities have to find support beyond county and state borders. I would admit, I’m a capitalist to a fault, and I love steak, chicken, and pork. But I’m also an advocate of stewardship when it comes to nature and the environment. Farmland was never meant to be stretched and overburdened in this way.
If you’re wondering why these large corporate mono farms even exist (see The Biggest Little Farm), you won’t like the answer. They exist because of greed and excess. It frustrates the hell out of me to see family farms either sold for a quick fantasy payoff or, even worse, go into foreclosure because they can’t compete with big business.
Right To Harm is a tough watch. It’s heartbreaking. It will make you angry. But believe it or not, there is hope.
"…it will make you angry. But believe it or not, there is hope."