Animals – The Ghosts in our Machine
Remarkable and haunting, this is a documentary that strikes at the heart of how dehumanized great swathes of humanity have become as evidenced not just in our wonton abuse and butchering of each other, but the unbelievable acts of cruelty and slaughter of billions of sentient animals.
Anyone lacking empathy for animals no doubt lacks it for humanity as well. Just these short clips and the great OpEd piece below will affect you deeply. This has got to stop. Our planet is drenched in the blood of the innocents.
It can’t go on much longer.
Here’s an earlier trailer that gives some more insight to the film:
In April 2013, “The Ghosts in Our Machine“ premiered at the prestigious Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival, and it was quickly voted a top-ten audience favorite.
An incredible, and forward-looking, film follows internationally renowned photographer Jo-Anne McArthur over the course of a year as she documents the stories of individual nonhuman animals (animals) who are caught in the web of so-called “civilized society” in the United States, Canada and Europe. By doing so, she introduces the audience to the sentient beings who are the “ghosts” in our societal engine and confronts us with the compelling question, “Have you ever wondered how, and why, our species has managed to develop such a sophisticated, well-oiled machine that we call ‘modern society’?”
In the film’s trailer, where some disturbing images are matched to beautiful prose, McArthur says she feels like a “war photographer,” because society is really waging a war against other animals as we wantonly exploit them in myriad ways. McArthur also wonders how and why people so easily leave animals behind and alienate ourselves from these amazing individuals as we go through our days in mindless and heartless ways.
A thought experiment
To begin finding some answers to such important and daunting questions, try this simple thought experiment. Take away the billions of animals who suffer on factory farms, those animals who make up the human diet and are called names like “meat,” “bacon,” “pork” and “sausage” to put distance between ourselves and the sentient beings who they really are. Take away the billions of animals who are used in research, so that people can supposedly live a bit longer and more comfortably. Also take away all of the animals who are forced to jump through hoops and rings of fire in circuses and who are trained or “broken” to perform stupid and unnatural acts solely for people’s entertainment. And, don’t forget those animal beings who are held captive in zoos and aquaria to satisfy people’s curiosity and who gain nothing at all from losing all of their freedoms.
There’s more. Take away the animals who are shot, blown up, poisoned and irradiated so that militaries can find more efficient ways to kill other human beings in the wars in which society engages. And, finally, remove the animals whose skin and fur serve humanity’s fashion tastes, those beings who we choose to wear when there are numerous and more effective non-animal alternatives.
Now ask, who‘s left? Note I use the word “who,” not “what,” because animals are subjects of a life, not mere property or objects, although they are treated as if they are unfeeling items to be used however people choose to use them. Humans really are the most powerful species on earth and we’re constantly making decisions about who lives, who dies, and why.
The “Ghosts In Our Machine“invites audience to reflect on the attitudes and norms of a so-called “exceptional contemporary culture” by introducing individual and named animal beings — cows, turkeys, dolphins, chimpanzees — whose pain, suffering and death are a major part of why our species makes claims of superiority and domination over other animals. The film asks that people consider and change the fact that all sentient nonhuman beings are still considered as owned property under the law.
[Hat tip: Dee]