Posts Tagged ‘joaquin phoenix’
I am not the kind of girl who goes vegetarian every time she hears a PETA horror story. I’ve always known where meat, leather and fur comes from, and I’ve still consumed, even craved, all of the above. I’ve read about slaughterhouses, animal testing and tanneries but — color me insensitive — none of it was enough to change my way of life.
Released in 2005 by writer/producer/director Shaun Monson and narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, this award-winning documentary film explores the concept of speciesism as it relates to racism and sexism, comparing the mass murder of animals to the Holocaust.
“Here we go again,” I thought, settling in for another vegan sob story about veal and foie gras. Yes, I know, chinchillas have feelings too – blah blah blah.
Then, in short clips illustrating the validity, frequency and severity of these claims, carnage filled the screen. Real-life and in high definition. Death. Ninety minutes of merciless, filthy, reprehensible, gut-wrenching death. Dogs, cats, cows, pigs, dolphins, whales, monkeys, tigers, foxes, elephants. All those big brown eyes screaming where their voices could not.
Shot over six years from animal shelters, factory farms, slaughterhouses, the leather and fur trades, sporting events, circuses and research labs, “Earthlings” is the reality animal equivalent to the worst bone-saw thriller movie ever made.
I know a few people who haven’t been able to make it past the first 10 minutes of this film, crying uncle when little piglets have their teeth cut, their ears clipped and their tails docked with the same pair of rusty bolt cutters and no anesthesia (this keeps them from chewing on each other in extremely confined spaces). Wincing while the Turkish handle their stray dog population by tossing street muts into the trash compactor. Holding their breath as cows who were supposed to be “humanely” executed by a quick bolt to the brain (but who has time to aim properly and make sure they’re really dead?) twist and contort, dangling inverted from one leg as they head to the slice-and-dice department to become ground chuck, ribeye and tender filet — all while fully conscious and writhing in pain.
Even workers at so-called kosher facilites, which are supposed to treat cows with the utmost sanctity and respect while processing, ignore all protocol, slitting throats and ripping out trachea while the living, breathing cow aspirates to death on its own blood. All in a day’s work! Can’t cut down on productivity, after all…
When I began my foray into eco-friendly living, I wondered whether it was OK to fudge on the whole organic meat thing from time to time, particularly on routine purchases like chicken, because who in this economy has room to double their grocery budget? The answer is no. If you don’t have the balls to burn that chicken’s beak off yourself and shove it into a place where it will likely go insane and start eating the other chickens, then no. If you aren’t bored enough beat a sow to death with a cinderblock for fun on the farm, then no. If you aren’t into slitting a bull’s neck and watching it choke on its own blood until it dies, in plain view of all the other cows, then no. Big-box meat of any kind is no longer an option. It is cheap for a reason — because a knife to the throat is cheap, too.
And if you think I’ve become a whiny vegan preacher, let’s see if you can make it through this film without wanting to slit the throats of a few farmers, fishermen or dog catchers. If you can watch the whole thing without thinking differently about the agony that permeates that fast-food burger, I’m not sure I want to know you.