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An Animal Lover’s Night In With Netflix

The following article was written by guest writer Sean Collander.

I love movies. I always have. I minored in cinema studies in college and have always been innately drawn to them. I am intrigued by everything from the stories to the subtleties in camera angles and movements. So naturally, when I first became vegan, I sought out all the movies I could that dealt with cruelty to animals and the food industry. Below, I have compiled a short list of some of my favorites that I think are worth viewing by everyone (vegan or otherwise). All these movies are available through Netflix, and you can even add some of them to your instant queue!

The Cove (91 min.)

Available for instant streaming on Netflix

Ric O’Barry’s life with dolphins took off in the 1960s when he was hired to capture and train five dolphins for the TV show Flipper. In 1970, Ric realized that these social animals were being denied everything that is natural and important to them, and he subsequently founded The Dolphin Project in order to educate people about the cruelty of dolphin captivity. This Academy Award–winning 2009 documentary follows Ric and his team as they fight against fishers, police, and the Japanese government to uncover a secret annual “dolphin drive hunt” in which more than 2,000 dolphins are netted and slaughtered in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan.

Rotten Tomatoes (96%)
The Internet Movie Database (8.5/10)
Netflix

 

Food, Inc. (94 min.)

Available for instant streaming on Netflix

Directed by Emmy Award–winner Robert Kenner, Food, Inc. shines a harrowing spotlight on America’s corporate food industry. Broken into segments, the film focuses on cruelty to animals, human welfare, and the economic and environmental impact that the corporate food industry has on our lives.

Rotten Tomatoes (96%)
IMDB (7.9/10)
Netflix

Earthlings (95 min.)

Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and featuring a soundtrack written by Moby, this film is by far the most graphic film on this list. Not for the faint of heart (or stomach), Earthlings unabashedly showcases people’s horrific treatment of animals for meat, clothing, entertainment, and experiments. While this film’s extremely graphic nature can make it difficult to watch, it is also why I think it is probably the most important. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer below and then watch the full film online for free.

Rotten Tomatoes (93%)
IMDB (8.5/10)
Netflix

I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA (72 min.)

Released in 2007 and directed by Matthew Galkin, I Am an Animal is an HBO documentary about the life and passion of PETA’s cofounder and president, Ingrid E. Newkirk. Through interviews with various PETA employees (and Newkirk herself), Galkin gets down to the experiences and ideals that led Newkirk to start PETA and help it grow to be the largest animal rights organization on the planet.

Rotten Tomatoes (76%)
IMDB (6.4/10)
Netflix

Chicken Run (84 min.)

While this family-friendly movie is not commonly seen as an animal rights film, you would be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise. The plot is this: Ginger is a chicken who is constantly trying to escape her cooped-up (get it?) life on the farm. When Mr. and Ms. Tweedy (the evil farmers) decide to start producing chicken pies instead of eggs, the chickens gang up to devise an escape plan. Come on, folks—it doesn’t get any clearer than that!

Rotten Tomatoes (96%)
IMDB (7.2/10)
Netflix

So those are some of my recommendations when it comes to movies about cruelty to animals. What would you recommend?

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  • bunnyrabbit says:

    earthlings is a life changer! most graohic by far

  • Professional Bagpiper Savannah says:

    I came to be vegetarian after getting to know people in the meat packing industry and the final straw was Earthlings. I thought how can I be a cat mom yet still eat animals?

  • Chai'na says:

    Earthlings can be extremely hard to watch but so can many other things re: how animals are treated in, not just the US, but around the world.
    I pretty much thought I had seen/heard of all types of abuse, but since the advent of the internet I am totally ashamed to be a ‘human’…..Going vegan is great but there is so much more to preventing animals from the abuse they suffer every second of every day, yr in and yr out.
    I can only do what I can….I do TRN and I’m vegan…but that is not nearly enough. The numbers of animals that are murdered in shelters EVERY day is astounding just because they don’t have homes.
    There should be a totally outcry and outrage from EVERYONE is non human beings will start getting the treatment and dignity that they deserve.

  • opium says:

    I came here expecting to find some good films or docu’s featuring animals, not just films detailing human cruelty to them. Pretty hilarious for an article titled “animal lovers night in”…

  • donnamartin12 says:

    I just watched EARTHLINGS last night. I thought I knew everything that went on with animal cruelty. I was appalled at how ignorant I still was. I wanted to abandon society as I know it immediately. However, the need to make people aware is much stronger and obviously desperately needed. People need to stop turning their heads and realize what they are supporting in our economy.

  • Brianna says:

    I loved Food Inc.!! That is one of my favorite documentary’s!!!

  • Cristina says:

    to Steve Bryan: planet of the apes (2001 version) does that to some degree….

  • Katrelya Angus says:

    I recommend The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. From Mary Poppins to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have never seen a movie as faithful to the original book as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. While C.S. Lewis did write fur coats into the story – we must remember that, in his day, there was no good imitation fur – I find this tale an excellent treatise against canned hunting. The hero Aslan an adult male lion (Liam Neeson) dies in the cruelest of all canned hunts at the hands of the evil princess Jadis (Tilda Swinton) – Swinton and Neeson show the complete evil of hunting for sport, particularly canned hunting, and audience members have been known to cry during that scene – but cheer wildly at Aslan’s triumphant resurrection!

  • Elisa says:

    Don’t forget Two Brothers (2004)!

  • Holly says:

    I have never seen “earthlings” before but I just watched the trailer and I really wish that every person involved with animal cruelty on any level should be made to watch “Earthlings” with out being able to look away or close their eyes, while they sit in prison for the rest of their lives!

  • neverlast says:

    So glad to see Earthlings recommended here. It is by far the most important documentary showing the plight of our fellow species. People should HAVE to watch this. It’s a life changer.

  • Molly says:

    I LOVE Chicken Run! And I’ve always thought of it as kinda’ strange since it’s a family movie but animals are killed in it. :)

  • Kristina says:

    Foodmatters is a really good one too. Talks about going RAW. : )

  • Elise says:

    Anyone with comments on the movie K-Pax?
    I think most may have missed the message completely!

  • Steve Bryan says:

    Someone should write a script about aliens descending on Earth and treating humans the way we treat animals (to be exploited for profit no matter the unspeakable cruelty). They can call it the “The Harvesters”. Might wake up a few folks.

  • Rai Cruz says:

    Plauge dogs is a heartbreaking although great story about two dogs who try to escape from a labrotory

  • Rebecca says:

    I absolutely love Babe and so does my 2 year old daughter.

  • theimpaler says:

    to jan1…you are so right..Animal Farm does say it all!

  • crystal says:

    Its about time there making true movies that would scare the heck out of people and to let everyone know whats going on with animals and our food . i bet the FDA and going to like it when people really know what gose on behind doors. cant wait

  • Amy says:

    I’ve been a vegan for 10 months, 2 years Vegetarian(thanks to Skinny Bitch)We tried to watch Earthlings but it was so hard. I am vegan for life, Do I still need to watch it?

  • Jess says:

    Thanks for these sugggestions and also for those who made suggestions in the comments! I will try to check these out. I have already seen Babe before.. good movie. I’ve seen Food Inc. in highschool and it was very very informative.

  • Larry says:

    I wonder if GOD will forgive mankind for the horrible things we do to his animal children. When you stand before the Lord and he asks you “What have you done to protect my animal children?” What will you be able to tell him?

  • Ben says:

    I am actually very surprised that Year of The Dog is not in the five listed… it resonates perfectly with anyone who is unable to stand idly by while animals suffer, even if it means some suffering for themselves. It is both funny and touching and surprisingly good.

  • Holland VanDieren says:

    Turtle Diary — too often forgotten, yet wonderful!

  • mariskatee says:

    i LOVEEEEEE food inc.

  • Katrelya Angus says:

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe shows the evils of canned hunting at its most tragic as Aslan the Lion (Liam Neeson) dies point-blank at the hands of evil princess Jadis (Tilda Swinton). This story inspired me to become an animal-rights activist in the first place, as author C.S. Lewis went on to write powerful essays and stories against vivisection. One word of warning: due to the time in which the story was written, the archaic use of fur is in the story – the Kings and Queens of Narnia first appear in fur coats, which are eventually shed. Had Lewis been writing today, the fur would have undoubtedly been imitation!

  • Roy Rendahl says:

    Please check out the indie film, “Bold Native.” Synopsis: “Bold Native is a fiction feature film. Charlie Cranehill, an animal liberator wanted by the U.S. government for domestic terrorism, emerges from the underground to coordinate a nationwide action as his estranged CEO father tries to find him before the FBI does. The film simultaneously follows a young woman who works for an animal welfare organization fighting within the system to establish more humane treatment of farmed animals. The film weaves an intricate tale of one of the most important issues facing America and the world morally and ecologically — the impact and consequences of industrialized animal use. Bold Native takes on the issue of modern animal use and exploitation from several angles within the context of a road movie adventure story.” http://boldnative.com/ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bold-Native/162792945925?sk=wall

  • jan1 says:

    Do not know if anyone has read “Animal Farm” that says it all!

  • Katrelya Angus says:

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! While there is fur, due to C.S. Lewis having lived in a time in which, sadly, there was no imitation fur, I still consider Lewis one of the greatest animal rights activists of all times. Canned hunting is shown at its most tragic as Aslan the Lion dies in a canned hunt – only to resurrect and eat his huntress for Easter Sunday brunch!

  • roxie says:

    I think Rio should be added too…it shows how he was taken from the wild and when he goes back to Brazil and gets trapped, it shows all these birds in small cages and some have clearly gone insane. My heart broke when I saw that part.

  • Phadief says:

    I forgot, The Secret of N.I.M.H., a good family movie.

  • Phadief says:

    Charlotte’s Web.
    Rise of the Planet Of The Apes.
    The Bee Movie.
    Super Size Me.

  • Zach says:

    I’ve seen them all! They are great movies…other then chicken run. That was stupid. The other ones are very powerful movies that are amazing!!

  • atul jain says:

    well, i must watch these movies/ documentaries for further knowledge!
    i feel ‘finding nemo’ can also be added to the list!! after all, fishes are beautiful and humble creatures.

  • 4mula1 says:

    also missing is. free the animals, a history of the alf.

  • Denise Smith says:

    “An animal lovers’ night-in with netflix” is the title of the preceding article. While I agree, EARTHLINGS is a must-see, I would
    never recommend it in a venue that sounds more like an invitation to settle in with popcorn and the kids, for a “family night”.
    This movie broke my heart, and irrevocably changed me. I still, months later, am kept awake at night by it’s horrific images. I’m just saying, whenever I recommend this movie, and I often do, it’s with great reverence, and acknowledgment, of the pain the viewer will experience.

  • Hope says:

    I am never, ever, ever, ever watching Earthlings. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. It’s just full blown animal torture through the whole movie; yes to expose cruelty of course, but still I would never be in the right state of mind to watch it. Powerful film though, they should play it during Street TV lol

  • Hope says:

    Babe ftw! Once kids know they are eating a sweet, smart little pig when their parents feed them hot dogs or bacon…well you know.

  • Heidi says:

    Fast Food Nation, a fictional movie, based on the book of the same name. Greg Kinnear is in it. Addresses animal cruelty in regard to slaughterhouses, but also shows the plight of the workers, especially immigrants that work, in the slaughterhouses.

  • denise says:

    Charlotte’s Web is a good conversation starter for kids to find out where meat comes from. Any movie that makes a farm animal a protagonist has my vote.

  • jowashburn says:

    Babe is another good one.

  • ska213 says:

    All The Little Animals (1999)

  • Myland says:

    So many other good movies! Must sees: King Corn; Fat, Sick and Dying; also all must read The Cure and Skinny Bitch! I have been vegan for a month now and never felt better. I think it WILL change my life in so many ways….now to convince the family!

  • Jess says:

    I would add Happy Feet to that list. The scenes where he is in captivity and starting to go insane and hallucinate were heartbreaking. It speaks a lot to the cruelty of keeping animals that should be living in the wild confined in zoos and aquariums.

  • Taylor K says:

    Free Willy is missing! Great view on whale suffering in Sea World

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