Written and directed by Shaun Monson
Speciesism is defined in this movie as the human treatment of other species as mere objects. Animal abuse is documented in detail here. The food industry is not the only one guilty of this abuse. The list is long.
The pet industry is one of the first examined. Puppy mills and other opportunists over-produce dogs, cats and other animals that end up on the street or in pounds where life usually ends quickly and miserably. Pet owners who abandon their pets or don’t spay or neuter are also part of the problem. Pounds and shelters often don’t have the resources to do their job as well as one might hope.
Clothing companies often raise furry animals in overcrowded and inhumane conditions. Science and medicine do rather appalling things to animals in the name of research. The entertainment world is not so entertaining when we see what goes on where cameras are not supposed to peer. We are shown videos of circus elephants and even tigers being beaten. Sometimes the abuse is part of the entertainment and happens even when the cameras are on. Bullfighting and rodeos are such examples. Even zoos often put animals in restrictive displays where they cannot possibly be happy.
And of course there is the food industry. Most already know about factory farms. The video reveals clips of abattoirs that claim to do kosher slaughtering. Whatever they are doing, it is not kosher. Factory farming is also practiced with seafood in a way that threatens all sea life.
There are lots of video clips showing examples of these abuses. This is the most graphic movie on the subject I have seen and is definitely not for the squeamish. While there are a couple of times where the narrator comments that a particular scene would make anyone switch to vegetarianism, there is very little of that overall. In the big picture the movie is not so much about what to eat but about the horrors of animal abuse. I happen to agree with that primary message that animal abuse is horrible and it needs to stop. This movie shows us why we need to be careful about where we get our food and earns the movie a hesitant thumbs UP. Earthlings also earns the dubious distinction of being the most disturbing thumbs up movie I’ve seen so far.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2014.