Earthlings — A Discourse on Compassion

Jane and I became vegans primarily for our health, but as with many other decisions one makes in life, our reasons were varied. We were happy to be doing something that is better for the environment and pleased to do our part to reduce the need for factory farming, but our primary focus was our health.

Our primary reason, better health, hasn’t changed. But over time, we’ve become more aware of the compassionate nature of our decision. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Jane does most of the food preparation in our home. In our meat-eating days, I’d occasionally come home to find her “grossed-out” about the carcass she was handling. Now, when we’re grocery shopping, she’ll say to me “I can’t imagine eating a dead animal ever again.”

Recently I came home to find her crying in front of the computer. I dropped my things and ran into the room to find out what was wrong. When Jane was able to compose herself, she told me she’d been watching Earthlings, a 2003 documentary on the relationship between animals and humans, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, with music by Moby.

The video is presented in a less militant manner than the usual animal rights material. Personally, I find this to be much more effective. Rather than putting people on the defensive, it presents the facts in rational, straightforward manner which encourages thought.

We all need to understand where our food comes from. We should all understand the impact of buying our pets instead of getting them at the pound or an animal rescue. We should all be made aware of just how that new medicine (which may just combat the disease brought on by your meat-laden diet) was developed. We need to understand the environmental impacts of our actions. We all have a right to choose how we live and to choose what we eat, but we should make our choices based on all the facts. Watch Earthlings in streaming video (or click here to download Earthlings– also available in Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, German, Hebrew, English, Estonian, Greek, Italian, Swedish, Portuguese).

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