A gripping documentary about what happens to our pork and chicken before it arrives at the dinner table is now free for NZ Herald readers to enjoy.

MEAT is a documentary about the modern story of the animals we eat and all the gritty details that go along with it.

"Dive into the life and work of four profoundly different meat producers – discover how the food on your table is shaped by the great issues of our age: feminism, waste, philosophy, greed, morality, health, welfare, environmentalism, even terrorism.

"From the solitary hunter who believes everyone needs to be educated about their food, to an industrial pig farmer who argues that money isn't his primary driver," said the New Zealand Film Commission description for the movie, which received funding from New Zealand on Air.

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Film-maker David White said he was excited to bring the facts of meat processing to Herald readers and give them the choice of deciding where they stood on the issue.

White, who had grown up on a cattle farm, decided to make the film after realising he had no idea how chickens and meat were processed.

His key hope for the film was to start a conversation about how meat was sourced. He was intent to give viewers the reality but not tell them what to think.

MEAT follows the story of four profoundly different meat producers and delves into the industry before and after its goods reach supermarket shelves. Photo / Supplied
MEAT follows the story of four profoundly different meat producers and delves into the industry before and after its goods reach supermarket shelves. Photo / Supplied

"Id like to think it creates a conversation.

"We had an activist and a pig farmer chat at a screening, they had a great conversation."

The harsh reality of the film had an impact on one of his friends who was a "meat lover" and had turned to a vegetarian after watching the film.

The film followed a man who has dedicated his life to producing 400 tonnes of pork a year, another man's philosophical attitude to killing almost 1000 chickens a week, as well as Jill, the one-woman farming operation.

During filming White was given unrestricted and unfiltered access to give a realistic view of the meat industry without taken a stance telling viewers what to think.