Saturday, December 18, 2010


I saw recently a movie called “Earthlings” by Shaun Monson. I learned of it from blog pal, Sabio Lantz at Triangulations.

This movie was very difficult for me to watch. Some scenes were so painful that I turned my eyes away. But I’ve come to know that suffering arises, as the Buddha taught, from ignorance. If watching this movie would dispel some of my ignorance and empower me relieve some small bit of the suffering in this world, then, painful as it might be to watch—and it was very painful to watch, I must make myself see it.

I am almost sixty years old, and I felt my naïveté evaporate as I watched this movie. It is only about an hour and a half long but felt, without question, like the longest movie I’ve ever seen.

This movie disabused me of some of my delusion about animals as they encounter humans, a delusion I have a hand in perpetuating. As a kindergarten teacher I often paint fairy tale picture about animal husbandry practices in the America today, a fairy tale which suggests the norm in America is something resembling the  Arable’s family farm in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. (My son reminds me that in some parts of the world, as in Togo, West Africa, where he just spent two years in the Peace Corps, people follow more humane animal husbandry practices.)

This movie, Earthlings, takes an unflinching—and horrifying—look at how it really is in America and other parts of the “developed” world. We allow our animals to be treated—I’m sorry, but “tortured” is the apt and accurate word here—in order to fulfill, at minimal economic cost, our desires for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and “scientific” research.

So, if you’re interested here’s a link to the movie’s website. You can watch it there or see the trailer:  EARTHLINGS.

Here's the trailer. Warning: Don't watch it unless you're prepared to see a disturbing side of reality (and contemplating becoming a vegetarian).

Make the Connection.


Ruth said...

Dan, the video is taking a while to load. Maybe that's a good reason not to watch it now, though I completely agree with you that we must observe the suffering in the world, and thereby hope to transform it, even just through our love. When I was at the bookstore Friday, I saw a book titled EARTH by Jon Stewart and a few others. It's a picture book explaining the history of our planet to aliens who might happen upon it one day. It is so comically ridiculous to look at ourselves this way, and beneath the humor is the terrible tragedy of what humans are capable of. Always, in a Rumi sense, a yin-yang sense, the opposite is also true, and that is why it pains our hearts so much! Someone said the angels envy humans for their emotional highs and lows. But I doubt they envy us our capacity to torture any living being. Thank you for posting this.

By the way, in answer to your question about my podcasts, this is what I wrote in a comment reply to you at my place:

No, I haven't mentioned how I record the podcasts, but thanks for asking. On this Macbook Pro there is an application called Garage Band that makes recording a piece of cake, and the built-in mic is very good. There is also an app called iWeb, and so as soon as I've finished recording, I post it to a ready-made (that I customized) web site for the podcast, which I pay a fee for.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Ruth. Thank you for posting this information about your recordings. I played with Garage Band enough to figure out how to make a recording of a voice. Next step is figuring out how to put that recording onto a website.

Sabio Lantz said...

I have been well aware of these nasty facts of life since I was 19 years old -- when I first became a vegetarian. I went to a slaughterhouse at that time.

I am no longer a vegetarian but I still strongly believe in trying to not support these horrible businesses.

Dan Gurney said...

Yes, Sabio, I think we're in just about the same place. I'd eat a chicken if I knew it had had a good chickeny life and was respectfully and regretfully slaughtered for dinner. But I refuse to throw another of my dollars towards the meat industry as it is in the US now.