As I am doing my masters thesis work on beef in Finland, I have been turning my head to the issues around animal and food, and have come to watch a 2005 documentary film, Earthlings. By watching it, I have realized how ignorant and complicit I have been of animal rights. Unlike Food Inc and Fastfood Nation, Earthlings more focuses on how animals can feel as much pain as we mankind do, and how the way we treat animals draw parallels between racism, sexism, and speciesism.
As long as there are slaughterhouses … there will be battlefields. –Leo Tolstoy
With footage obtained through the use of hidden cameras to chronicle the day-to-day practices, the film urges the viewers to make connection and take actions. Covering various places where animals are undergoing agony, the film touches five most prevalent ways animals have come to serve mankind: Pet, Food, Leather and fur, Entertainment, Science, none of which, I must say, can be a good excuse to torture other earthlings after watching the film.
I did not know that milk cow dies in four years whereas normally they can live 20 years or so, nor did I know that my leather shoes probably have caused a cow in india a tremendous agony none of us mankind would take for himself/herself. A poet once said, “Pain is a sensation tricked by the distance. That’s why a thorn under one’s fingernail hurts more than the disaster in the other continent”. I can’t agree more.
The change should occur now, and it’s not only about animal right. We do not see, living in the city, what it takes to make our foodstuff and products and how they will effect us in the long term, but the consequences are obvious.
Ironically we only see mankind’s complete disrespect for these non-human providers. Without a doubt, this must be what it is to bite the hand that feeds us. In fact, we have actually stomped and spit on it. Now we are faced with the inevitable aftermath. This is evident in health reports due to our over-excessive consumption of animals. Cancer, heart disease, Osteoporosis, strokes, kidney stones, Anemia, diabetes and more. Even our food has now been effaced, and at its very source. With antibiotics used to promote weight gain in animals–who can’t gain under the stressful, overcrowded living conditions in factory farms–with the over-use of pesticides and insecticides, or artificial hormones, designed to increase milk production, litter size and frequency with artificial colors, herbicides, larvicides, synthetic fertilizer, tranquilizers, growth and appetite stimulants, it’s no wonder that Mad Cow Disease, Foot and Mouth disease, Pfiesteria, and a host of other animal related abnormalities have been unleashed on the human public. –from Earthlings
Nation Earth has agreed to stream Earthlings online for free as a part of their effort to spread awareness, and the YouTube embedment below is one of them with subtitles in many languages. I know many of you have watched this already, I know that this will make many of you uncomfortable, but if you haven’t and if you are brave enough to face the reality, you should give it a try.
I had had a few choices for my thesis topic: beef, waste management, energy saving et cetera. I chose beef cause I thought I would be learning the most, which I think I am. From the beginning, however, I have deliberately chosen to exclude animal right from the discourse as it can easily be not about the rationale but feelings. Now, I am confused, but more motivated than before.