There were parts I missed because I had to turn away. At other times I acted like a little kid watching a horror film, covering my face with my hands, only watching what could slip through the cracks between my fingers.
But this is no horror movie. Earthlings is real.
The opposite approach to mine
Of the compliments people sometimes give me about this site, one of the more common is, “I like that you promote vegetarianism without being preachy.”
That’s no accident. When I became vegetarian, I came more from a place of “vegetables are cool because they make you healthier” than of “meat is evil because animals die.” I’m not here to tell you about all the wrong you’re doing when you eat meat; I’d rather tell you how eating plants can help you run faster and farther than you’ve ever thought possible.
And that’s not going to change.
I’m not going to attempt to describe the gruesome scenes in Earthlings. But having suffered through an hour and a half of the most sickening footage I’ve ever seen, I realize that there’s tremendous power in the shock-and-awe approach.
For that reason I’m linking to the trailer here; you can choose to watch it if you’d like. There’s some extremely graphic animal violence—some of you won’t be able to even finish the trailer. I didn’t my first time.
Why watch something you know is awful?
Because it will make you care. And really caring about something, I’m discovering, feels good.
I feel as if some part of me died while I watched Earthlings last night.
I’m talking about part of me that, consciously or unconsciously, has chosen to ignore what goes on in the food industry and others like it that treat living beings as a product.
I’m talking about a naive belief that we as humans are being fairly responsible in the way we treat others in our position as rulers of the earth.
And when that part of me died, another part awoke. A part that wants to work hard to create change in the face of overwhelming, appalling misuse of the power we have over the other thinking, feeling beings with whom we share the planet.
Who should watch it?
If you’ve thought about becoming vegetarian but it just seems too hard, you should watch it.
If you’re vegetarian (like me) and think you’re already doing enough, you should watch it.
If you’re vegan and you want to strengthen your conviction and motivate yourself to do even more, you should watch it.
But what about meat eaters?
It has been said that if we had to kill our own meat, all of us would be vegetarian. Watching this movie isn’t far from that.
If you eat some meat but do so in as responsible a manner as possible, making sure to get your food from sources that you know treat animals with respect, then I hope watching this makes you more passionate about that cause.
If you eat lots of meat, don’t care much about animals, and are happy with that, watching Earthlings will probably make you less so. (Why are you reading this blog though?) If your goal is to stay as you are in an ignorance-is-bliss approach, then you should not watch it.
But I hope you do anyway. And I hope you share it with someone else.
If you watch the trailer and decide you’d like to watch the whole thing, you can get more info at Earthlings.com. The entire movie is available for free as a Google video (thanks @VegBassist for this). I’d recommend the DVD though, since if all it took were a mouse click to turn it off, I wouldn’t have made it 15 minutes.