11 January 2011

Five impactful films that support the vegan cause

Some of the following films may not be strictly about veganism, but the messages conveyed within them certainly support the philosophy.

1.) Earthlings (2005) directed by Shaun Monson
This film is a staple for any animal rights collection and especially if one wants to learn more about the animal rights side of veganism. The film shows the horrors of our culture’s animal industries including pet stores, animal shelters, puppy mills, factory farms, leather and fur trades, sports and entertainment, and the science and medical industries. Some of the images shown are very upsetting, but the message in this film cannot be ignored. I have heard many people say that this is the film that made them decide to go vegan. I saw Earthlings months after I had gone vegan, but after having viewed it, I knew that I was never going to turn back. This film is forever imprinted in my mind. It can be viewed in full at www.earthlings.com

2.) Le Sang des BĂȘtes (Blood of Beasts, 1949) directed by Georges Franju
Blood of Beasts is a short French documentary from the late 1940s about French slaughterhouses. Because the film is now 62 years old, it might seem irrelevant today, but it is actually as relevant as ever. Now we might have factory farms and machines, but the brutality displayed in this film still happens today all over the world, and some may even say that conditions are much worse now. Blood of Beasts is the film that first got me thinking about veganism and changed my perspective toward the food industry forever. It can be seen in the special features of the film Eyes Without a Face.

3.) Food, Inc. (2008) directed by Robert Kenner
This documentary gave me the final push toward veganism, even though after viewing Blood of Beasts, the violence toward the animals seemed a bit tame (however, it is not tame at all). This documentary has less of a “propaganda” feel and is more mainstream, but the message within is still very important. The film looks at how the food industry focuses on making food in a way that is financially beneficial to the businesses while overlooking serious issues like the health and safety of the workers, animals, and the consumers.

4.) The Cove (2009) directed by Louie Psihoyos
The Cove is an Academy Award winning documentary that follows ex-dolphin trainer, Ric O’Berry (Flipper) and a team of animal rights activists to Taiji, Japan to expose the abuse of the dolphin industry and the risk of human health from dolphin meat. Ever since Flipper, dolphins have been high in demand for entertainment in movies and amusement parks, like Sea World. Ric O’Berry trained the first Flipper dolphin and has come to regret the job. He now seeks to help dolphins and end the brutality that is seen within the film.

5.) Bold Native (2010) directed by Denis Hennelly
I recently wrote a review on Bold Native, so I feel like I am cheating by putting it in this list, too. However, I feel that this film is so incredibly important to see for anyone interested in veganism simply because it is not a documentary, but a fictional story that could happen and relates to real events. It is one thing to see documentaries regarding animal cruelty, but a fictional film opens up an entirely different audience to veganism. The film is about a group of animal rights activists, mainly Charlie Cranehill, as they go about their mission for a nationwide animal liberation event. I believe that having fictional heroes that believe in the same philosophies in which you believe can be very empowering.

Kristen McFarland | @MohawkedMaven
Kristen, a vegan from Cincinnati, Ohio, is passionate about animal rights and film. She has a degree in electronic media and spends her time working as a sideshow performer and a photographer. Follow Kristen on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/chidorian