Earthlings exposes the atrocities committed against animals, that if viewed in human terms would amount to the most evil crimes against humanity, and should (I hope someday will) be considered as such. It is an important and informative film, fueled by horrific images captured through an unflinching camera lens.
Go into this expecting to be overwhelmed by what you are going to see. I have seen images from the holocaust and the rape of Nangjing and read stories of torture from WW2 and these are frighteningly similar. Much to my surprise it is never preachy - nor does it need to be. The nightmarish images, which to my mind resemble a reasonable facsimile of Hell itself, with the innocent being tortured by their evil overlords, are more than enough. Evil is not the only word that comes to mind when you hear what the workers and trainers say to their sorry subjects as they inflict their torture. But I do not hate the evil men, I somehow pity them, both for the lives they lead and their loss of something I deeply value - empathy and compassion.
What makes Earthlings so powerfully convincing is actually quite simple if you believe that inflicting pain and suffering on an innocent living being is wrong. This kind of suffering could be the result of something as simple as not spaying/neutering your pet. Unfortunately as history shows us, we have a lot to learn about how to treat each other, let alone the animals that share our world. Earthlings gives voice to those that are powerless and cannot speak out on their own behalf.
The film makes a strong argument for some form of compromise on the meat eater/vegetarian debate, but it also delves into the issue of fur trading, animals as a form of entertainment (ie zoos), and as test subjects in the name of science. The footage in each segment is nothing short of incredible and is surely the result of years of effort, on the shoulders of many impassioned individuals, in order to be collected. To those who contributed to this effort, I salute you.
Its true that Earthlings does not offer solutions to all of the problems it seeks to expose. Nor could it hope to do so. The viewer is challenged to seek their own answers and carry the voice of the voiceless to the lawmakers. I can only hope that more people see this and make changes in how they live their lives, and the laws that govern the treatment of animals. The devastating reality is that this potentially life-changing documentary contains only a microscopic portion of what is happening every single day, in every single country, around the world.
This is a must see and should be required viewing in high school classrooms. In case you decide not to watch Earthlings, particularly if it is because you believe animals are ignorant and don't deserve to be treated humanely, I want you to know that ignorance is NOT bliss if you walk on four legs.