This documentary has affected me. I am torn between telling people to watch Earthlings because it’s important for them to know this stuff, and telling people not to watch it because it is genuinely disturbing. I closed my eyes during many scenes in the movies and I wish I had closed them more because I am haunted by the images I saw.
This movie looks at the five things we use animals for: Pets, food, clothes, medical reseach and entertainment. It then goes on to show how each of these aspects causes massive amounts of suffering for the animals which have done nothing to deserve being treated like that.
We think that keeping animals as pets is good because the animals have a good life, but for every pet that has a good life, there are many more that suffer tremendously. The conditions which puppies, etc are ‘manufactured’ for pet shops are appalling. Many pets are badly treated by their owners, others are abandoned. The lucky ones are euthanised, the rest are killed in less humane ways or suffer along until they die from exposure, accident or illness.
A lot of time is spent looking at the conditions in which animals are kept to fatten them to size for us to eat. It is absolutely criminal. Then they look at how these animals are slaughtered, a process which, by no stretch of the word, can ever be called humane. Watching how these people treat the animals is sickening, absolutely devoid of empathy or conscience. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as they showed the Japanese executing their annual slaughter of dolphins.
I didn’t realise that the meat we eat comes from different animals to the leather we wear. The slaughter of animals for leather is even less regulated than for food and it is sickening to see how these animals are abused. I watched them rip the skin off a fox while it was still alive, it was sitting there looking at itself, wondering what had just happened. All of this suffering so that someone can wear a fur jacket, sick.
I had no idea that millions of animals are abused and killed every year in the name of medical research. To see what they do to these animals is to see man at his basest level. It is no wonder that man is continually performing atrocious acts against his fellow man.
Entertainment from animals was also an eye opener. Circus animals are treated with immeasurable cruelty, zoo animals suffer in captivity and thousands of animals suffer and die for entertainment in bull fighting rings and rodeo rings.
I contemplated walking out of this documentary several times, but decided to stay to the end because I believe that we need to be aware of the impact of our choices. What we eat, what we wear, the products we buy and the entertainment we choose to watch can all lead directly to the extreme suffering of many innocent animals.
Today, when I ordered my lunch, I ordered the vegetarian option because after watching Earthlings, I couldn’t stomach the idea of eating meat produced through all that suffering. If the movie can have this impact on everyone that watches it, then it has done a good thing.