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Friday, April 21, 2006

REVIEW: I am an Earthling!

Joaquin Phoenix, Moby & Brett Harrelson (Brother of the Woodster) have been brought together to produce arguably the most powerful, dogma-questioning, politically thought-provoking film of our time. If food is politics then this film is a Martin Luther King speech or a Gandhi march.

I struggle to recall a film that has left me so enraged, aware, exhausted and ultimately reconnected to an issue. And others agree - the film has won three film festival awards.

At the end of this post I have a copy of the DVD to give away and with only 1000 copies produced that is a great way to ensure you see this film. Win the copy below. Find a copy. Borrow a copy. Hell even steal a copy. Just watch it. With no food nearby and a hankerchief the size of Texas I might add.

Earthlings ( is a beautifully presented analysis of humanity's relationship with animals. Set to music from Moby and others the film lays bare the globally dominant ideology that animals are merely a resource for our use. That animals are merely fodder for the machine that sustains us, a machine that inflicts pain for the sake of our wants (not needs), for the sake of our economy.

And if that is not enough of a reason to reassess our relationship to animals then additionally our treatment of animals leads to pollution, deforestation and a potential food-chain collapse which will in turn require extreme chemical management of our food production system quicker than you can say Mad Cow or Foot & Mouth. Sound familiar? It is happening already. More Soylent Green anyone?

The film focuses on how we treat animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment and science test subjects. With copious amounts of grim hidden camera footage, humanity's treatment of animals is on brutal display. And folks, it ain't pretty. No punches pulled. Heavy stuff. The heaviest.

Oh, some will say these incidents of pain and suffering are isolated incidents (even though the film starts out stating that what you are shown is acceptable industry standard), that we need to use animals this way and the usual blah blah blah justifications that are often heard by those perpetrating any kind of systemic slaughter.

I have been struggling with my commitment to vegetarianism up until now. Looking ahead having seen Earthlings I feel incapable of treating animals with anything other than the same respect I show to my own son from now on.

As well as this film I strongly recommend When Elephants Weep: Emotional Lives of Animals as the best evidence I have ever come across that animals feel. A brilliant read.

Change is inevitable but the question is will it be thrust upon us or will we display real intelligence and initiate change ourselves?

The power to change resides with you. Resolve to first of all see this film. Then resolve to eat no more meat and use no more animal products! Educate yourself about animal testing and Campaign for recognition of Animal Rights. Animals have no voice in our world other than you. And thus far our silence has been deafening.

WIN!!! WIN!!! WIN!!!
To win a copy of the DVD (Limited Edition of 1000) all I want you to do is the following two things:

1) Email me and tell me how much grain is required to produce both 1 kilo of pork and beef (clue: search this site for the 'ethical food').

2) In the same email answer the following question: What would you say about meat to a young person?

I will then pick the best answer to part 2 from all those who get part 1 right after the weekend.

I am going to sleep now. God save me from the nightmares I know lie ahead.



UPDATE: Just discovered you can watch the video at Google Video here or you can download a version here. Thanks to here for the links

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At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

Hi Al,
Glad you wrote about this. I had actually heard about Earthlings when it was first released, from an acquaintance who runs a juice shop in the LA area and who invested in the film (and sells copies in his shop).
But - because I'm already a vegetarian for precisely the reasons the film explores and because I don't think I can handle subjecting myself to the cruelty and indifference to animals that I assume is exposed in the movie, I haven't seen it.
I wonder if I should though. Would I feel more educated and more resolute in my decision not to eat meat (and to become a vegan at some point), or would I wind up sobbing in the fetal position on my bathroom floor? (I'm only slightly exaggerating.)
It seems like the type of movie that people who don't understand the importance of vegetarianism/veganism should see - but I have to admit that I wonder even about that impact. My friend at the juice shop raved about the film and publicized it and seemed to be a believer, but still said that it didn't make him give up meat (or sell less meat sandwiches at his shop).
Sorta rambling here...but just wanted to share my thoughts...

At 10:09 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Melissa

Yeah if you are vege already then do not put yourself through it. Very traumatic and I found myself in a mess many times through the movie. Death at every turn. Horrible painful, needless, death!

Amazed that your buddy that invested in the film and sells it still manages to eat meat. Wow! I have been bordering on vegetarianism for a while but that film just pushed me over the edge and since Friday I have been unable to even go down the meat aisle in the local store.

Can't see myself eating meat or fish again. And to be honest am looking to phase out anything but the most ethically sourced eggs, milk and cheese too! I want those cows and chickens to practically donate the stuff ;)




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