Oct 10th
    Filming myself watching the documentary Earthlings.

    Filming myself watching the documentary Earthlings.

    For those of you who don’t know, the documentary ‘Earthlings’ is the movie that turns people to vegetarianism.

    And it’s not about Jamie Oliver making a quinoa salad.

    It shows, without blinking, the unadorned horror of the many ways in which humans are capable of abusing their power over animals – farming, vivisection, hunting, pet ownership…the list is far too long to bear and the scenes portrayed too gory to look at directly for any length of time.

    I’ve been promising but failing to watch this film for weeks.  The reasons were obvious – I didn’t want to face it.  But now I have.

    I wanted to share something of this with you without forcing the images upon you. So rather than write about it, I thought I’d film myself watching it. Some of these portraits look contrived but I can assure you I was far too distressed to care about the camera. You are watching pain that is once removed.


    What is the point of watching ‘Earthlings’ if it’s so awful?

    No doubt it would be possible to make a movie of the awful way some human’s treat humans. Or the way animals eat animals.  Surely this is a sort of extremist shock tactic that doesn’t help a reasonable debate on animal rights.

    In some ways that is true. Plenty of slaughter houses are not as awful as those shown in graphic detail here.

    But when you consider that two the key reason why animals suffer so much at the hands of humans is because of the twin effects of IGNORANCE and DENIAL then a short sharp shock of reality is eminently justifiable.

    In one scene it shows how cattle who collapse after days of transport in India have raw chilli rubbed into their eyes to get them up. If that doesn’t work they break their tails.In some ways the movie is as brutal on the viewer – this is a movie to open people’s eyes. Not nice, but effective.


    Two lessons.

    Two main feelings from watching (other than horror)

    1) UTTER ASTONISHMENT at the way humans can separate from animals. The DISCONNECT was grand-canyon-esque. A man cuts the head off a living dolphin, another saws into a fully conscious cow….how?

    2) A SENSE OF CERTAINTY that for those of us that care it is our absolute duty to KNOW.

    If you have any compassion for animals then you owe it to yourself as much as to the animals to at least educate yourself as to what is happening. You don’t need to watch the movie or see any gore but you need to at least give your heart a chance to connect to the misery that you might be able to help. You can then choose to act or not. But you cannot go through life not knowing.

    If you have the strength, please watch Earthlings for free:

    Watch the movie 








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    1. O MY GOD! I was not aware of this documentary, I am watching it right now with much despair and suffrance, but I want to get through until the end. I will share it with all my friends. THANK YOU for posting this!

    2. I can’t look at it, I’m sorry. I wish they would show it in (secondary) schools (is that mad of me?) so that kids could make a connection and not think that vegetarians are mad. I’m someone who has cried at seeing turkeys (already dead) hanging by their necks for Christmas so I know what this film would do to me. I really admire you for watching it and putting it out there. It really beggars belief what human beings are capable of. Martin, I think you may be my hero for putting yourself through this!

    3. “Unless
      someone like you cares
      a whole awful lot, nothing
      is going to get better.
      It’s not” – Dr. Seuss

      Yes Martin….it is HELL to watch….I originally watched it 6 yrs ago with a big box of tissue….

      God Bless you Martin…your friend, Valerie.

    4. I tried to watch Earthlings a couple of years back and I could only get as far as 17 minutes. It was unbearably heart-wrenching and I was screaming out at the monsters hurting the animals on the screen. It broke my heart and the images still haunt me so I can imagine what the rest of the movie contained. Horrific! It makes me ashamed to be human. 🙁

    5. I know that watching this documentary is a big bain, it made me really suffer so much. But “We must not refuse with our eyes that which they must endure with their bodies” -Gretchen Wyler, The Human Society of the United States
      After reding this, I knew I HAD to watch it. It hurted so much, but after watching it I feel better and I even love even more (if possible) each and all every living creature on earth. So please be brave and watch it. We cannot escape from its content anyway. I don’t think thid documentary would have been more effective if did not describe reality as it is, with all its cruelty. We know this happens every second, so at least we have to be strong enough to watch this great documentary. The more people will watch it the better it’ll be. But if we have not the strenght to watch it ourselves, how can we have our friends/families watch it?

    6. How can people think that their or other spectators’ feelings matter? For goodness’ sake, each one of those creatures suffers agony, for months or years, before a horrendous yet welcome death, yet some of you think it matters that you feel some temporary emotional and moral distress – ooh diddums, poor you. It really, shoudn’t be in question – if you care, you want to know; if you care, you should be grateful and privileged to share a tiny bit of their pain, in their honour, and to learn more about what you can try to avoid and not to be partially responsible. I’m horrified that so many people think disconnection and comfortable ignorance is a justifiable choice, that so many people still really think people matter most and that we should have more than we actually need.
      I often see vegetarians complaining on message boards that there are no or few vegetarian choices in restaurants – in restaurants! Are they hungry or aren’t they? If so, eat the bread and vegetables or whatever’s suitable; if not, you don’t need it anyway.
      If you care, you want to know as much as possible. Personally, I’d cheerfully sacrifice the whole lot of us, including my own children, if it’d save the animals, plants, water, air.. only it’s too late and I have no magic button to press. If watching a very blurred video is too much, no wonder we’re in a mess.

    7. I saw the movie some years ago … incredible, how „human beings“ treat animals … but one more good reason to start changing something …

    8. I watched this recently. I saw someone mention it in a comment on one of your posts. I got to 12 minutes and thought I can’t do this! Why am I doing this? I’m already a vegetarian. Then my sister (also vegetarian!) joined me and asked what I was doing so I explained and for some reason we thought watching it together would be easier. We cried. I have flashbacks of the crash test monkeys. She cries over the dolphins. I urge anybody to watch it. Although graphic, it is so important to know where your food comes from. Even if it doesn’t turn you into a vegetarian/vegan maybe people will buy from small local farms where the animals have had a better quality of life and maybe a more humane (is that even possible?) death.

    9. I agree, Belle, if you can bear to watch it, do so.

      It is no doubt extreme but worth seeing. If we eat meat we ought to know…

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