Editor's blog: A glimpse of a vegan world is bittersweet in Simon Amstell's 'Carnage'
In 2067 the world is vegan, and many are recovering from the guilt that still haunts them.
"I used to eat animals."
Simon Amstell's mockumentary is set 50 years from now in a sort of vegan utopia, where the compassionate younger generations are horrified by history's mistreatment of animals and the bloodbath of animal agriculture.
The BBC film finds the right balance of funny tongue in cheek scenes cut with serious realism and facts. Watching it, there's no escaping short scenes of animal slaughter interwoven with the storylines and mock-interviews. For non-vegans, the facts are there, but book-ended with enough laughs to keep them engaged. Amstell told Vice in an interview:
"If at any point Carnage became on paper preachy or annoying, we made sure something really funny was really near to that bit so people would be laughing rather than feeling judged."
There's plenty of opportunity to laugh at vegans and laugh at non-vegans in this film. And the non-vegan viewer will hopefully find it an amusing and enjoyable watch while gaining some valuable insight and having common myths shattered. ("If you don't milk a cow they'll die. You have to milk them...")
As the film unfolded, I felt a sort of refreshing relaxation. Though inescapably a mockumentary, Carnage creates a world where vegans are the status quo, and animals are accepted and celebrated as equals and to abuse and kill them is a horror. This is the ethos and understanding many vegans live with, but in a world that profits from and celebrates the consumption of dead animals who have lived imprisoned in misery.
"We're not vegans, they're carnists."
Carnage was something of a 65-minute breath of fresh air for vegans, where we were the "norm." But it was bittersweet indeed, because this is not yet the norm, we don't yet live in a world of animal equality. A world where people show animals and each other compassion; we're not there yet. But perhaps this film will help to push some people in the right direction.
I still feel excited and amazed by the mere fact that this film was made by the BBC with such a huge reach and audience. And if Twitter is anything to go by, it seems to be having an effect on some people already.
Carnage is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.