Having been – for more than a thousand year – a sacred animal in Hinduism, the Zebu has it’s own cult in a lively capitalist occidental country, being admired, respected, studied and invested on as one of the most significant commodities of the Brazilian international commerce.
Brought to Brazil in the lately 19th century, it has adapted very well to the geography in such a way that in 2012 Brazil overtook the US and became the largest exporter of beef in the world. Behind this important alimentary chain, a very closed and mysterious male conservative society formed by traditional landowners and few urban businessmen attracted to the fortune it promises. Deeply involved in Brazilian politics since colonialism, the rural lobby participates actively in the country politics financing 30% of the Deputies now presents in the Deputy Chamber, although the agro-businessmen represents only 1% of the population.
The Brazilian meat market had turned US$ 7,2 billion on 2014 of income over 1,56 million tons of meat exported, a historical record that keeps growing and turns economy during these last years of crises.
To understand the importance of these numbers, we can say that from each five steaks eaten in the world, one is of Brazilian origin. The country has today 22% of the worldwide meat market. The rich farmers and breeders are in constant negotiations with Brazilian Government with the intention to duplicate this number until 2025. The aim is to reach 44,5% of it. What could also mean to duplicate the numbers of animals from 200 million to 400 million until that date.
Holy Cow explores the social and cultural environment behind the top of this important international alimentary issue. The documentary aims to understand the characteristics of the Brazilian rural capitalists and the contemporary identity of those who decide the meat we will eat in the world.
Holy Cow was Finalist at Emergentes DST Prise/2013, during Encontros da Imagem Festival, Braga, Portugal and is represented by The Story INSTITUTE.