First, a word of warning: Do not watch this while eating. The graphic scenes contained in Earthlings are enough to unsettle anyone’s stomach at the best of times, and there will undoubtedly be a number of viewers unable to hold down their food while watching some of the shocking footage.
Earthlings is the most profound documentary available on the treatment of animals by humans. Over 2/3rds of the film comes from undercover footage, and reveals the full extent of the cruelty man inflicts on animals, whether it be for food, clothing, or leisure.
The film starts off at a slower pace, detailing the true conditions inside puppy mills, where animals end up with psychological damage from being trapped in tiny cages. It is a theme also explored later with the cage madness seen in fur farms, and also in the animal pounds in our cities. The overcrowded pounds are also home to euthanasia by lethal injection, but if funds are low they turn to methods such as gas chambers. But that is if they are lucky to make it to the pounds, because the street methods of throwing dogs in garbage trucks or feeding them cyanide bait are far more cruel.
Keeping animals in small confined spaces in the norm in the food industry. Apart from the mental distress, the animals become prone to tumours and other diseases, and often resort to cannibalism. To prevent the animals attacking each other, they are subject to cruel body modifications, such as burning off their beaks, teeth cutting, ear clipping, tail docking, and cutting off horns. The conditions are so horrendous that cows which can normally live for 20 years will generally die from sheer exhaustion after just 4 years.
The situation doesn’t get any better for animals on the way to the slaughter, as the hidden cameras catch routine beatings and electrocutions, often for the handlers enjoyment. Instead of the regular bleeding through a slit of the throat, other methods of killing are also commonplace, including being beaten to death with metal rods, forcefully thrown against walls, having their heads stomped on, shot with bolt guns, being dumped into vats of steaming water, and either electrocution with neck braces or anal probes.
One of the more graphic scenes involves the production of kosher meat. The Jews as very strict on making sure it is a clean process, but severely lacking when it comes to preventing the animals from suffering the most painful deaths. Another tear jerking moment is back at the fur farms, where undercover cameramen have caught the fur farms ripping full coats of skin straight off live animals, and leaving them to writhe in pain afterwards.
If the slaughtering doesn’t put you off meat, then the combinations of the animals diets, living conditions, and even post-slaughter processing methods including electrocuted the hair off animals may do the job. After all who wants to eat the electrocuted meat from animals covered in sores and cancers who are fed on other animal carcasses and faeces? While considering these thoughts, Earthlings switches to fish production, showing that much of the fish caught in oceans are full of dangerous diseases from the dumping of chemical and nuclear waste in the oceans.
Earthlings also covers the treatment of animals in leisure pursuits. Hunting, bullfighting and cock & dog fighting are obvious targets, and rodeos, circuses, and zoos do not escape coverage. As they show, there are reasons why rodeo animals bolt out of the gates in a fury, and circus animals are not able to perform solely based on intelligence.
The use of animals for scientific and medical testing is without doubt an industry run without a conscience. Animals are subjected to severe physical and psychological torture, such as the brutal head injury research conducted so we can learn more about the impact of car crashes and boxing. In the medical field, the animals suffer from deliberately induced diseases, and the military routinely subject them to atomic blasts and nuclear radiation.
With our fast paced modern lifestyle, we often fail to enter into thought about where the meat on the supermarket shelves or the leather in our shoes has come from, or what testing is performed so that a particular product can be classified as safe. The documentary even covers areas such as the mass production of birth control pills made from the urine of horses shackled in rows of cramped stalls. We are shown that these modern methods are unsustainable, and are leading to the prevalence of new diseases including pfiesteria, mad cow disease, and foot & mouth disease.
The footage is so damning, and the reality is so shocking that no producer wanted to touch this documentary. Then George Bush passed a law that anyone revealing this type of footage which could lead to an industry suffering a financial loss would be deemed to be a terrorist. So you have to respect the people who have mad Earthlings available, and be aware that this might be the last time such revealing footage is released exposing the truth behind treatment of animals in modern society.
If you are looking for something to shock you and change your perspective on life, then Earthlings is the film for you. It is guaranteed to evoke an emotional response, and almost certainly effect the way you live your life from that day forward. It is highly recommended for everyone to see this documentary and get inspired to help change the world for the better.