05 February 2011


Anyone squeamish from "Food, Inc." would do well to skip this movie altogether. There is little new information here, though it does give those new to activism, animal rights, vegetarianism, etc. a general overview of the role of animals in human society.

The tone of the film started out a bit grandiose and preachy,coining the word "specisist" to define anyone who puts the desires of their own species above any other and linking these people to Nazi's and rapists. This is the kind of talk that often turns the casual viewer (and I mean someone not already entrenched in the cause) off. While the juxtaposition between concentration camps and cattle ranches is a good one, it seems to be used for the soul purpose of horror. The facts are horrific enough and this is where "Food, Inc." was more successful.

The movie breaks the role of animals in human culture down into five categories:

1. Pets- The main focus here is the benefit to adoption and avoidance of pet stores and puppy mills. Footage of euthanasia is stunning in the cases where injection overlooked for the inexpensiveness of gas. I adopted my cat from a shelter and plan to do so for all future pets. I'm a bit torn now as to where is the best place to adopt from though. Should I continue supporting no-kill shelters even though they are unable to support a large number of animals or should I rescue from traditional kill shelters? Am I supporting their killing of thousands of animals or am I rescuing one? It's a tough thought.

"...fellow prisioners of the wonder and travail of Earth."

2. Food- More and more Americans are becoming aware of the meat industry and its shortcomings, thanks in part to films such as this and Oprah. [side note: I want to see a "where are they now" episode following her week long vegan challenge a year from now. How many stuck with it?] The footage is much the same as you have seen before with some exceptions. When I ate meat, I thought Kosher meant better. I was horrified by what was shown at the largest processing plant of Kosher meat in the U.S. How does anyone think this is okay? I have a dream where one day I live in a house and can keep chickens. I keep trying to convince my friends who already have goats to get some chickens and maybe a pig or two. I just want to play with them! Also, I find it difficult to refute eggs that I, essentially, produced. More food for thought.

3. Clothing- Since becoming vegetarian, I have avoided leather products. After reading a post on The Kind Life  about wool production, I am determined to decrease my consumption of animal fibers as well. What surprised me most in this segment was where most leather comes from. It always seemed weird to me that so many leather goods were made in India considering the Hindu belief that cows are sacred, and even more so to realize that it is these sacred animals that are being slaughtered for coats.

"Of all the creatures that were made, man is the most detestable... He is the only creature that has pain for sport, knowing it to be pain." -Mark Twain 

4. Entertainment- Hunting, racing/gambling, rodeos, circuses, bullfighting, and zoos are all profiled here.

5. Science- Focusing on medical testing, experimentation, etc. I try to avoid products that have been tested on animals mostly because I can't imagine what we still need to learn about shampoo. However, I am unsure how I feel about medical testing and am no less confused now. With a running time of only 90 minutes, it is not surprising that questions would go unanswered. However, when an accusation is made I expect a full argument.

"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields." -Leo Tolstoy

Should you see "Earthlings"? The short answer is yes. It is especially designed with the public in mind, however it is full of graphic images which may be unsuitable for younger viewers. Have you seen this movie? What did you think?

(all quotes as seen in the film)