Riveting New Film May Change the Way the World Thinks About Animals

Published by Alisa Mullins.

Acclaimed photographer Jo-Anne McArthur has been documenting the plight of animals around the world for more than 10 years. Now a haunting new film by award-winning documentary filmmaker Liz Marshall, The Ghosts in Our Machine, chronicles a year in McArthur’s life as she photographs animals on fur farms and factory farms and in laboratories, zoos, and aquariums. She also photographs “the ones who got away” relaxing in rolling pastures at sanctuaries in the U.S. and Canada. 


“I feel like I’m a war photographer and I’m photographing history,” McArthur says. “I’m trying to save the world.”

Every month, The Ghosts in Our Machine names a special “animal ambassador,” and this month’s pick is PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, who compares the movie to the groundbreaking anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “In much the way Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book …did in its time, this film has the potential to broaden our view of those around us, to suggest their potential and their reality, cause us to pick apart our prejudices, and raise the potential for consideration, understanding and inclusion, to change a world view.”

The Ghosts in Our Machine debuted in Toronto late last month and has already won several awards at film festivals. Look for it at a theater near you in the coming months.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind