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Interview with film producer Nina Messinger


H.O.P.E. What you eat matters: Interview with film producer Nina Messinger

Nina Messinger
© Nina Messinger

Nina Messinger, born in 1980 in Austria, is an active speaker, trainer and seminar organizer in the health sector with a focus on nutrition, exercise and mental training since 2006. In June 2011 she published her first book “You shall not kill! A Plea for a non-violent diet“.


Nina Messinger is also a film producer of the documentary HOPE for ALL. Unsere Nahrung-Unsere Hoffnung, which was released in May 2016. The English Version of the movie H.O.P.E. What you eat matters was released in March, 2018.

For more information about H.O.P.E. What you eat matters:


The documentary shows, how our diet effects the planet, how it’s a driver of common diseases and why we do not meet animal’s needs anymore. In the interview with FOUR PAWS, Nina Messinger talks about her experiences when she filmed her documentary and gives tips on what each of us can do to try and make the world a little bit better.



How long did it take you to finalize the documentary?
It all started with the publication of my first book. After that I had the need to continue my work on the topic. Altogether, it took me about four years to finalize the documentary and I started with the first interviews in 2012.


During your production phase, you traveled around the world, met renowned Nutrition Scientists and famous figures like the primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall. What were your personal highlights?
Each person I met was special. Not necessarily famous people, but also not so well-known people who have reoriented their lives based on a deep understanding of the destructive and cruel effects of our animal-based diet. They reported that they now lead a much richer, more fulfilled life.


What was it like to see the animals?
The animals I encountered during filming really touched my heart. On one hand, there were animals from a sanctuary, on the other hand, there were the unfortunate ones who lived on intensively managed farms. It was a really great experience to see the rescued animals who weren’t kept in an appropriate manner before, enjoying their new freedom and the attentive care at the sanctuaries. This is felt by anyone who meets those animals, and I recognized in the faces of the keepers that this also triggers a feeling of happiness for them too. Our society can learn and profit from these special human-animal-relationships, if we start to respect and see animals as highly sensitive beings.


Did it deeply affect you to witness the animals kept in intensive farming systems?
Yes, it did. We partly filmed in the stables. It is not easy to watch the scenes again and again, and it is even harder to see them living in these conditions and to realize how painful their short life really is. Because of this reality, I have had sleepless nights and am disturbed by it all to this day knowing that I was able to leave the stable but they couldn’t. Having compassion and empathy is not enough. If we really want to help these animals, we need to change our diet.


In your opinion, how can we inspire people to re-connect with farmed animals like pigs, cows and chickens again?
It’s important to make children and young people who are still open and approachable, understand what a piece of meat, cheese and other animal food item represent: that it was a sentient being with integrity and a right to live but that this right was taken away. That’s why I also talk about the soul of the animals in my documentary, and show that they enjoy life like us, express love and mourn for their children if they are separated.

Do you prefer animal welfare to environmental protection? 
No. Both are closely linked. If you would like to do something for the environment, you also do something for yourself and for the animals. Those who understand animals as sentient, co-creatures instead of usable products, can therefore do something for their protection, also something for themselves and for the environment. For example, advocating the abolition of intensive livestock farming which is  one of the key causes of the destruction of our environment. Those who destroy the environment also destroy their own livelihoods, and those who torture animals or permit others to do so behind the walls of animal factories in order to get cheap meat, also harm themselves.



What do you mean exactly? 
You harm yourself psychologically, because even if it’s embedded in our subconscious, we are aware of the injustice that took place. We are also harmed physically because of the numerous medicinal and chemical residues from the animal factories in meat, eggs and milk which have been proven to have harmful effects on our health if consumed in large amounts.


Animal and environmental protection are therefore closely linked, and both are in turn closely related to  human protection. The excessive consumption of animal products enforces intensive livestock farming. Not only is it animal abuse, it also contributes to species extinction by constantly increasing the cultivation of cereals for animal feed, which are mostly genetically modified monocultures and permanently poisons soil, water and air. Here, land grabbing plays a major role, too. All these facts are drivers for world hunger. These points are covered in detail in my documentary. If you understand these concepts in their context, you would feel the strong urge to really do something to change it.


H.O.P.E. gives hope for a better future. What can each one of us do right now? 
Many people are frustrated by the global complexity of things and think they can not do anything anyway. But this is not true. In our consumption-oriented world, we as consumers have an infinite power to bring about a fundamental change in things. We only have to recognize this power and use it specifically. Our shopping basket is a powerful daily tool with which we not only make our own health crucial, but also what other people in this world do and what opportunities they receive. Each one of us can use this power, every day and immediately. Which would benefit everyone.


Is there another project in the pipeline? 
In March 2018, I started my new project “H.O.P.E. The Project“. The aim is to promote a conscious diet and lifestyle that serves to save lives as well as protect billions of animals from unnecessary suffering and the preservation of the environment. In addition, due to the recent release of the English version of the documentary, the film will be presented to a larger, international audience. The documentary can be downloaded for free on the website.


Website: H.O.P.E. The Project: 
Free download H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters