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Mother Jones AG GAG cover

JUNE 18, 2013
Cover for the summer issue of Mother Jones Magazine, 2013

Interior illustration. In the reflection of the phone we see a worker beating a pig with some sort of prod.

I'm not a vegetarian, but I was for a very short time in college, mostly because I was dating an attractive vegetarian.  Once that relationship was over I was back to being omnivorous.
I love eating all kinds of food, but I usually don't want to know how my food had gotten to the supermarket.  I used to work in a meat market in high school but that's as far back on the food supply chain I went back to and that was disturbing enough.
Creative Director, Tim Luddy at Mother Jones had a story to illustrate on the issue of laws being written to protect large agricultural companies from having their methods of treating cattle and animals publicized.  I can't watch the accompanying video that Mother Jones has up on their site...it's that disturbing.  It shows various ways animal workers or handlers abuse the animals.  The disturbing part is the inhumanity of the humans.
Laws to protect businesses from citizens who shoot this kind of video is the most disturbing of all.  Below is a map from Mother Jones detailing the states that allow these laws on the books.
For this cover I was asked to show the face of a person NOT being allowed to speak.  Using direct eye contact, we see him shocked, looking at us with a bacon gag over his mouth.  Inside the magazine is another identical portrait with the same man only this time recording video on is phone.  Finding the right face is not easy, so my model is an amalgam of several, including mine.
A few weeks ago Brian Stauffer illustrated a similar story with a different powerful take on the subject.
Will this kind of thing change my eating habits?  Maybe somewhat, but what it mostly does is clarify this issue and the states allowing AG GAG laws to pass.  No animal should be abused and tortured.
First sketch. Clean white cover but not enough impact. Not enough emotion.

Here is the right tone and emotion. Sketch approved.

By the way, there is a wonderful illustration by Yuko Shimizu on the inside...