PAW presents eye-opening film

Ben Levine

In celebration of Earth Day, Lawrence University’s People for Animal Welfare hosted the critically acclaimed film “Earthlings” to raise awareness about the abuse of animals widely perpetrated by humans.
This film has won numerous awards and was directed by Shaun Monson and narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. The film goes through the common ways that people use animals and shows how the industry standards of these operations have become both abusive to animals and detrimental to humans.
The film begins by defining the term “earthling.” “Earthling” literally means “one who inhabits the earth.” This term encompasses not only humans, but also any living creature on the planet. With this definition, the filmmaker attempts to present a common link between the animals and humans. That common link is that we all share the same home.
With this term “earthling” fresh in the viewers mind, the term “speciesism” is introduced. The word “speciesism” denotes granting different rights or values to a living being based on their species.
The filmmaker applies this term to many of humanity’s various animal industries. He essentially says that because an animal is of a different species, many humans feel that we can treat them like objects and not living, breathing beings.
With these terms in mind, the filmmaker begins his exposé; on animal industries.
The first animal industry discussed is the pet industry. The filmmaker first displays the unsanitary and cramped conditions of “puppy mills.” Images of dogs in small, feces-covered cages are shown as the common conditions of puppy mills.
The filmmaker then goes on to show the sad fates of many stray and abandoned animals. Many of these animals are struck by disease and starvation and most of the animals recovered are euthanized in pounds.
After showing these images, the filmmaker suggests that these types of things could be preventable if owners spay and neuter their animals.
After showing the abuse of pets, Monson moves on to expose the food and clothing industries. Images of cows and pigs being slaughtered are displayed. Sometimes the animals survive the slaughter and are left dangling in the air as the processing continues.
The harsh and inhumane conditions these animals live in is also shown, with images of cannibalism and disease displayed as the results of these conditions. Not only is the animal’s suffering exposed, but also the hazardous chemicals and disease that these industries produce are shown as direct results of the poor standards of the industries.
Entertainment and science are tackled next. Men are seen assaulting and screaming at various animals as they train them for the circus. The unfair and painful circumstances of bullfighting are also exposed.
After entertainment, scientific experimentation is discussed. After showing these painful experiments, the filmmaker asserts that these experiments are not even necessary and are often repeated anyway with humans.
“Earthlings” is an eye-opening film that exposes many industrial abuses of animals. The connection between animal and human is excellently displayed and the abuses brutally exposed.
While it may make many people uncomfortable, it is a valuable movie that will answer the question “Where did this burger come from?