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Speciesism: The Movie – You’ll never look at animals the same way again

August 29, 2013

Source Farm Sanctuary
By Bruce

Every now and then a movie comes along that has the power to fundamentally change the worldview of its audience. Speciesism: The Movie, a documentary directed by Mark Devries, is that kind of film. It premieres in key cities next month.

The word “speciesism,” which has been popularized by Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, refers to the assumption that a vast gulf exists between the value of human interests and the value of the interests of all other animals.

Speciesism is, of course, a fundamental principle of human life, as humans view most other animals not as individuals, but as sources of food, clothing, and entertainment — or as targets. Similar to those who have grown up unaware of overt racist or sexist beliefs in their worldview, speciesism is so thoroughly assimilated in most of us that it is invisible and unquestioned.

Yet, in order to view other animals as biologically and cognitively unsophisticated, we have to ignore the scientific fact that other animals possess the same five physiological senses that we do, as well as the capacity for a wide range of emotions. In her introduction to The Inner World of Farm Animals (author Amy Hatkoff), Dr. Jane Goodall writes that “farm animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear, and pain. They are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined … they are individuals in their own right.”

And Dr. Temple Grandin, in Animals in Translation, writes that “When it comes to the basics of life … [other] animals feel the same way we do.” She explains that both humans and other animals share the same core emotions of “rage, prey, chase, drive, fear, and curiosity/interest/anticipation,” and the “four basic social emotions: sexual attraction and lust, separation distress, social attachment, and the happy emotions of play and roughhousing.”

Although prominent philosophers, legal scholars, and scientists have criticized speciesist assumptions for many years, these questions have never before been the centerpiece of a film. Not only does Speciesism: The Movie ask these paradigm-challenging questions, it does so while taking viewers on an adventure that is tremendously entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny. Devries’ interview with a Nazi reminded me of the hoods scene in Django Unchained.

Along the way, Devries meets and questions a remarkably broad range of people, including Peter Singer (who The New Yorker named “the most influential philosopher alive”), Richard Dawkins (the most influential evolutionary biologist of the past century), Temple Grandin (designer of the animal-handling systems used by more than half of the slaughterhouses in the United States), factory farmers, anti-factory farm advocates, various other folks (including me!) on both sides of the issue, as well as people on the street.

For those unfamiliar with speciesism, there may be no more enjoyable introduction to this fascinating subject than Speciesism: The Movie. For those already familiar with the speciesism and searching for a way to introduce friends and family to the subject, Speciesism: The Movie may be a perfect overture.

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we are here together on this beautiful orb.
so much beauty and joy is here
to absorb.
this planet is made for all to share.
to live together, and handle with
and though some of us have
fur,others skin, feathers or
we are all equal in worth, and
as one, we sail.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

26 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2013 12:06 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolf Is My Soul.


  2. markgil permalink
    August 29, 2013 1:30 pm

    it is a great movie- i saw it at the 2012 AR conf and have pre-ordered several copies. it is disturbing, however, that Grandin is looked upon favorably by certain AR groups. she makes a living designing ways to murder helpless animals and is not vegan herself. she is a huge part of the problem and in no way adds to the solution we are all striving for.


    • August 29, 2013 1:35 pm

      I completely agree. I recall being incredibly pissed at PETA for awarding her some type of recognition. She is as bad as anyone in the industry. Thanks, Mark. (I haven’t seen it yet, but I look forwarding to watching it.)


      • markgil permalink
        August 29, 2013 2:47 pm


        imo, it all goes back to certain groups seemingly aligning with the animal ag industry and leads back to HSUS which is neither a vegan nor an animal rights group but instead another faction of the industry disguising itself as an animal welfare group in order to garner donations. HSUS promotes “happy” flesh, dairy and eggs, does not oppose using animals for entertainment or hunting, says their goal is NOT to abolish animal agriculture and employs a pig farmer who makes a living killing 50,000 pigs a year on their board of directors. along with, here is a great recent article on the subject:

        as far as the film, it is kind of like “Vegucated” from a moral & ethical perspective except the people making the film themselves were not vegan when they started out to dispute the concept of speciesism. in the end, after examining all the evidence, even though they do not mention the word in the film that i can recall, they all turn vegan. one of the key parts of the film is a clip of the camera man driving (in his only appearance in the film btw) and talking about how different the world looks when your eyes are opened to the reality of the abuse, torture and cruelty which surrounds our society. the director said they were thinking of leaving the clip out but everyone at the conf agreed that it was one of if not the most powerful part of the film. it reminds me of this quote by the author of Sherlock Holmes:

        “At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society.” -Arthur Conan Doyle


        • August 29, 2013 4:08 pm

          It’s very disappointing to learn of the larger animal groups aligning themselves with those who rape, torture, and kill animals. I am familiar with Gary Francione and his group, who also side with abolition. I consider myself one as well. It’s hard to accept that there are “animal rights activists” who preach about welfare. How exactly can that be possible? It’s a paradox to me. That is horrible that HSUS has such a lengthy and dismaying record. Before I was vegan, I used to be an HSUS supporter. I was also a PETA member as well, but I openly post PETA alerts on OC as well as share links as well.

          Love the Sherlock Holmes’s quote, it really says a lot. Thanks, as always, Mark.


  3. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    August 29, 2013 2:22 pm

    we are here together on this beautiful orb.
    so much beauty and joy is here
    to absorb.
    this planet is made for all to share.
    to live together, and handle with
    and though some of us have
    fur,others skin, feathers or
    we are all equal in worth, and
    as one, we sail.


  4. August 29, 2013 3:06 pm

    Just watched the clip. I’ll be watching this movie, for sure. My only fear is that it’s only vegans will bother to watch. I hope I’m wrong! Great post chica! Celeste 🙂


    • August 29, 2013 4:09 pm

      I had that exact thought! I am hoping otherwise though. Glad you like it! 🙂


  5. August 29, 2013 7:09 pm

    I would like to see that movie.


  6. August 29, 2013 10:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog and commented:
    Must watch for all living beings on this planet.


  7. August 30, 2013 11:36 am

    Reblogged this on Vegan Lynx.


  8. August 30, 2013 12:17 pm

    Thank you, Camille.


  9. madden nfl mobile cheat permalink
    October 17, 2014 6:06 pm

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    It’s hard to find educated people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re
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