Organizers representing Save the Illinois River and Green Country Guardians will play host today for the premier showing in Tahlequah of a film that documents the impact of factory farming on the environment and public health.

“Right to Harm” will be released to the public next spring, but the film is being shown at film festivals and at communities involved in the fight against concentrated animal feeding operations and factory farms.

Three local activists, Emily Oakley, Brandy Whaler and Pam Kingfisher, are featured in the online gallery for efforts that stopped the construction of six poultry houses on Spring Creek in Cherokee County. All three will attend the Tahlequah premier, which will be 6 p.m. Thursday at the Armory Municipal Center, 100 N. Water Ave.

Filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher weave together the stories of five rural communities where factory farming has been shown to have had a negative impact on public health. Filmed at locations across eight states, the filmmakers chronicle what they describe as “the failures of state agencies to regulate industrial animal agriculture,” which “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. Ikerd told the filmmakers he realized after the farm crisis of the 1980s “the farmers who were in the biggest trouble were the ones doing the things we so-called experts were telling them to do.”

Kingfisher described “Right to Harm” and three short films about the poultry industry that were shown recently at Tulsa to a sold-out audience as “very revealing documentaries.” The co-founder of Green Country Guardians said everybody “who cares about our limited Oklahoma water supply” should see them.

Kingfisher said STIR and Green Country Guardians are asking for a $5 donation at the door. Refreshments will be sold as well, and all proceeds will be shared equally by the two nonprofit corporations.

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