DAY 380: WATCH ME WATCHING ‘EARTHLINGS’. HAVE A LOOK AT SOMEONE LOOKING AT SUFFERING
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 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: