I Finally Watched ‘Earthlings,’ and Wow, Was I Unprepared

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It all started in middle school when I read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Later on, in high school, PETA’s Meet Your Meat helped influence my decision to commit to a meat-free diet. In college, I was so affected by Speciesism: The Movie and The Ghosts in Our Machine that I immediately decided to pursue a fully vegan, cruelty-free lifestyle. But somehow, I completely overlooked Nation Earth’s 2005 documentary film Earthlings.

Now—more than 10 years after the film’s release and my decision to ditch meat—I finally sat down to watch Shaun Monson’s exposé of “humankind’s total dependence on animals for economic purposes,” and wow, did I have a few thoughts along the way. Follow along:

  • Spoiler alert: “Viewer discretion is advised” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
  • Did I click the right video? Or is this the Syfy channel?
  • Whoa, Joaquin Phoenix could really give Morgan Freeman a run for his money.
  • Damn, humans have done a number on Planet Earth.
  • Only five minutes in and I’d already rather be on Team Animal.
  • OH MY GOSH! Is that a seal being born?
  • Thank goodness for waterproof (cruelty-free) mascara.
  • And that’s just ONE factory farm …
  • Now THAT’S where an orca belongs. *cough* SeaWorld sucks. *cough*
  • I’d suffer from psychological issues, too, if I were kept in a box that small.
  • Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry.
  • If you can’t care for a companion animal, DON’T BRING ONE HOME!
  • Some men think that neutering their male companion canines would diminish their own masculinity? Sounds like a punk-ass attitude to me.
  • How is this legal??
  • Preach, Joaquin, preach.
  • Shit. This might be just like me attempting to read Eat, Pray, Love. I barely get through “Eat” before throwing in the towel.
  • Thank goodness I didn’t eat breakfast yet.
  • Watching Earthlings should be a requirement in high school health classes.
  • “The captive-bolt gun” and “without causing pain” should not be in the same sentence.
  • And here I thought hellish trapdoors were only for Scooby-Doo and horror movies.
  • Apparently, kosher slaughterhouses are about as kosher as shellfish.
  • “Sacred” slaughter? What a joke.
  • Where the hell is the fast-forward button?
  • I don’t think this is what STEM advocates have in mind when encouraging students to consider a career in “manufacturing.”
  • I’m about to run away from this movie like this pig is running away from slaughter.
  • Are they called “battery cages” because it should be criminal to confine an animal to such a small cage?
  • Why on Earth are these men dressed like they’re serving ice cream to children? YOU WORK IN A SLAUGHTERHOUSE!
  • There isn’t enough Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Tea on the planet to ensure these screams won’t replay in my nightmares tonight.
  • To all you pescatarians: “A” for effort, but let’s keep it real.
  • That’s A LOT of fish.
  • I think I’ll skip lunch, too.
  • Remember that Barney song “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere/ Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share”? Everybody everywhere should do their share and GO VEGAN.
  • Excuse me while I go grab a few tissues.
  • Bloody hell … literally.
  • And I’m sobbing.
  • I’m pretty sure all of the Saw movies put together are less gruesome than this.
  • If only people knew that their fur coats were the byproducts of “anal electrocution.”
  • I feel like I’m 4 years old again, watching the Pleasure Island scenes in Pinocchio, hands covering my ears and eyes squeezed shut.
  • Mark Twain was right.
  • Is that a child??
  • Seriously, how about joining the soccer team? Or ballet?
  • I remember being a kid at the local fair, seeing the sign for the pig races enticing folks to place bets. I cried when someone told me that one of the prizes was a pound of bacon.
  • Why do people think fish don’t feel pain?
  • Just remind yourself, Ringling is over.
  • Sure, and the Earth is flat.
  • What. The. Hell.
  • Deep breath.
  • So much for “man’s best friend.”
  • It’s no happy ending, but I’ll take it.
  • “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” “We are all earthlings.”

Watch Earthlings

Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, said, “If I could make everyone in the world see one film, I’d make them see Earthlings.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s difficult to imagine any human being watching this film and continuing to eat meat, consume dairy, wear leather, visit the circus, or support testing on animals.

Although difficult to watch, Earthlings is an extremely moving film that does a fantastic job of detailing the impact that humankind’s mistreatment of animals has on our planet. You’ll cry, your heart will melt, and you’ll cry some more. Click here to discover Earthlings, and remember, “It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.”

Want More?

Have you heard about the PETA Empathy Center in Los Angeles? It hosts a variety of events geared toward teaching the values of justice, respect, understanding, and compassion for all living beings, regardless of race, religion, ability, gender, or species. In fact, the PETA Empathy Center recently hosted a screening of Earthlings during a free PETAflix & Chill night. Click the button below to learn about future events at the center.

“But one thing is absolutely certain. Animals used for food, used for clothing, used for entertainment, and in scientific experiments, and all the oppression that is done to them under the sun, they all die from pain. Each and every one.”
—Joaquin Phoenix, Earthlings 

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