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Speciesism: The Movie
IMDB Rating: 8.3/10 from votes
Release: 18 September 2013 (USA) /

Speciesism: The Movie

Genre: Comedy, Documentary
Director:
Stars: , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: A young man begins investigating the underworld of "factory farming" and soon discovers a growing political and intellectual movement that considers animals as important as humans.

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Critic Reviews


I attended the West Coast Premiere of Speciesism on September 26th, 2013 and was blown away by the documentary. Mark Devries is 26 now but made the movie in college when he was ages 21 - 23. He was not vegan when he set out to answer the questions that he poses in the beginning of the film. Speciesism is one average college kid's quest to uncovering what "Speciesism" actually is, who accepts it and who denies it, and how the majority of society can deny it if it is true? In order to answer these questions, he interviews a plethora of professionals and individuals from all walks of life and various disciplines. From philosophers to biologists to animal advocates to farmers to citizens affected by the environmental effects of factory farming, Mark doesn't leave any stone unturned in his quest.

Mark accomplishes his goals while being witty and entertaining. He employs ironic comparison but always lets the viewer decide the truth for him or herself. It is not suggestive, pushy or biased, and he never gives his explicit views. It is more like his personal diary as he went around the country seeking questions to these answers, and the journey he found himself on along the way. I only found out that Mark is now a vegan because he was asked during the Q&A portion of the Premiere, not because he ever says it in the film.

My favorite part of Speciesism is that Mark is respectful in his approach instead of being confrontational. There are no gruesome animal slaughter scenes (a few scenes of "common acceptable industry practices" but they are short and you can close your eyes). Those scenes are by no means the focus of the documentary.

The fact that Mark was able to accomplish this goal in this way makes the possibilities for the future endless and exciting. College kids, high school kids, and middle school kids will all relate very well to the style, presentation, and message of Speciesism. I asked Mark if he plans to bring this documentary onto University campuses for this reason. I did not quote him but he said that of course he plans to. He believes that college age adults especially, because they are away from home and molding their personalities, beliefs, morals, etc. (it isn't a coincidence Mark was in college when he made the documentary) will relate well to Speciesism and will be affected positively be it's message.

Children and adolescents deserve to be empowered to know the truth about their food and to make choices for themselves from a very young age. Eating animals should be explained very clearly to them so they can make a clear choice. Some parents now don't want their kids to know that "chicken nuggets" were once alive or exactly what they are, because most children have the capacity to understand that eating a live creature is wrong and most decide they don't want to do it.

It isn't until culture and habit habituate us into believing consuming animal products in natural, normal, and necessary that we separate ourselves from what we are actually doing. The world is awakening to species ism, just as the world awoke to truths like racism and sexism in the snap of a finger.

There are comparisons made between the biases humans use to make distinctions on whom is deserving of being within the bounds of ethics and morals, and whom the laws serve to protect. In the days of the slave trade, it was decided by skin color. During the Holocaust, it was decided by religion. Throughout history, women have been oppressed based on their gender. We can intellectually understand why judging who deserves fair treatment and rights based on arbitrary distinctions is problematic, yet we haven't yet extended this logic to animals as a society. Nowadays, we have decided to draw the line of who deserves to be within the bounds of ethics and morality based on what species a creatures fall into and how it's exploitation benefits us in some way (although I would argue there is zero benefit to anyone). This is called species ism.

When our society decides that certain members of society are outside the bounds of ethics, the laws of that society can never protect both parties (the in and the out group). It is interesting because Mark asks numerous strangers in the street if they would have been abolitionists in the time of slavery (when arbitrary distinctions were made not much differently than they are today) or if they would go along with the status quo and what is right and what is wrong. Of course, everyone wants to believe they would have been an abolitionist in those days. When your grand children ask you if you were a Speciesist or if you stuck up for the individual rights of all animals, regardless of species division by choosing to live vegan, what will you say?

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