"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, would all of us be vegetarians?"
I had heard about "Food Inc.", an American documentary about the food industry, a long time ago, but never really got around to watching it, so I took some time out yesterday to do so. These kinds of documentaries really fascinate me, especially since I'm interested in health, specifically food and nutrition.
The film was an eyeopener, really. So interesting to learn about the many processes undergone before food become available at the supermarket- from the farmers breeding the cattle and/or growing seeds and agriculture to the slaughterhouses...
I personally thought the film dragged on a bit (so if you're restless, at least watch the first 45 minutes), but its main argument was pretty clear.
Watch "Food Inc." here.
I watched "Earthlings" next, another documentary which focuses more on humans and our reliance on animals for food, clothing, companionship, scientific experiments and entertainment. To me, it was much more mind-blowing and really impelled me. I was hooked within the first minute of the film, when they introduced "the three stages of truth: ridicule, violent opposition, and acceptance". Pretty stimulating in itself.
The film emphasised the fact that we are all earthlings (ones who inhabit the earth), whether warm or cold blooded, mammal, amphibian, reptile, fish, or human. And although humans dominate the earth, we still have many levels of sameness with animals, including our desires (e.g. desires to eat, desires for companionship), consciousness, and awareness of the world.
As expected, there was a section on slaughterhouses, but unexpectedly, the footage was even worse than in "Food Inc.". Between the footage of the branding, de-horning, transportation, milking, captive bolting and throat-slitting processes of cows, I lost my appetite. But there was still more on the slaughtering of pigs. And even more on the slaughtering of chickens.
As I was sure I was ready to throw up, the film moved on to discuss how animals are brutally killed or punished (or punished then killed) for our entertainment, clothing and scientific experiments. More gruesome footage ensued. So much blood.
To put it simply, "Earthlings" addresses the controversial issue of respect to animals in an incredibly potent and heart-wrenching way. I highly recommend you watching it. You can do so here.
So, how have these documentaries affected me? Call me cold-blooded, but to be honest, despite the repulsive and distressing footage of the slaughterhouses throughout both "Food Inc." and "Earthlings", I don't think I could ever go to the extremity of veganism. Like giving up cheese, eggs and leather products. Actually, that statement might be too audacious. Just at this point, at least, I don't think these documentaries have affected me enough to completely give up meat and animal products. Perhaps the fact that I'm still living at home has something to do with it- you know, it's sometimes hard to decide what types of foods to buy and eat when you aren't the one paying. So, I'm definitely not ruling out the possibility that in the near future, I may completely constrain my consumption of meat.
The quote at the top, though... "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, would all of us be vegetarians?" The general idea of this quote was actually brought up in both documentaries, so obviously something significant for you to ponder.
Anyway, this is all just my personal opinion. I am not in any way insinuating that vegetarianism or veganism is good or bad- that's an ethical issue I do not want to debate.
So watch the films for yourselves, and see what you think.
Make the Connection. EARTHLINGS.com
P.S. Haven't written such a long text post since my last blog... I haven't even written this much for my assignments yet..