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Film / Earthlings

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We are all earthlings.

"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy."

Earthlings is a 2005 documentary film about the horrific treatment of animals in the food industry, puppy mills, etc. The film was directed by Shaum Monson, is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, features music by Moby and was co-produced by Maggie Q.

It is available for free at the filmmaker's website.

Not to be confused with Puny Earthlings, or the unrelated book of the same name.

Provides examples of:

  • Artistic License Animal Care: This Tumblr post from a rancher asserts that the movie tries to extrapolate isolated incidents of animal abuse to farmers and ranchers in general being abusive while noting that the allegedly-common practices described would be counterproductive in reality.
  • Cannibal: It shows a few chickens eating a dead one. Also, pigs get their tails cut off so other pigs will not bite them off. Cannibalism in pigs is also shown to occur frequently.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The documentary uses real footage of shelters, slaughterhouses, and similar to illustrate what animals go through. Some highlights:
    • A stray dog gets tied up and tossed into the back of a garbage truck where it gets crushed to death. We don't see any gore, but the moment you understand what's about to happen is dreadful.
    • The film notes that when a cow gets its throat slit while upside down, it essentially drowns in its own blood.
    • The animals that are killed for fur are killed by getting an electric rod in an unpleasant place.
  • Gorn: It is an extremely brutal and graphic film. The faint of heart might want to listen to it instead if you can handle the sound of pigs screaming...
  • Groin Attack:
    • Without any sort of pain relievers or anesthesia, either.
    • Anal-electrocution is used to kill a fox.
  • Hypocrite: They show a "kosher" farm that is anything but.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Why the narrator often speaks of animals as "he or she".
  • Mercy Kill: Subverted. Captive bolts were designed to kill an animal with as little suffering as possible, but as the documentary shows, it does not always work as intended.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The film shows animal cruelty to all sorts of animals, but the animals in the food industry get the worst treatment.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The film tries to argue against this, even comparing the mistreatment of animals to sexism and racism.