Optimistic Vegan

No Mercy: Calf Farm Cruelty Exposed
April 27, 2011, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights, Films, Law | Tags: , ,

I was just wasting some time on Facebook when I saw a post by Bold Native encouraging people to write to Youtube about a video they recently removed for violating its Terms of Service. Curious, I followed the link and subsequent links to the terms of service. Turns out they don’t allow videos that are “shocking and disgusting.”

It says: “For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate.” I can understand this even if I don’t fully agree with it. Youtube is a company and they do have to decide how they want to be represented, but I would hope they would want to been seen as a company that supports free speech.

Anyway, I was wary of what the video was, expecting it to be a video with just a bunch of unrelated cruelty clips (because in the terms of service that is why they will remove videos). It took me a while to find it because other video services also removed it. I finally found it and prepared myself to watch it. It was atrocious. It was one of the most horrific videos I’ve seen yet (and I’ve seen a fair share) but I made it through the entire thing. However, it wasn’t a string of unrelated clips and it brought it back full circle with “go vegan” etc.

Apparently a full spectrum of people have commented on the video, including dairy industry reps. They talked about how they don’t support the cruelty seen here and they hope appropriate action is taken against this farmer, etc. While this all seems great (yay! Vegans and dairy industry reps unite!) I’m not convinced they’re concerned about their animals’ welfare. I think they’re nervous that their image will be tainted and the public might have crazy ideas and think that some of them might also have similar practices.

I don’t doubt that this video was released at a critical time when free speech is being challenged in states like Iowa, Minnesota and Florida with laws that would make undercover farm videos illegal. When we had a skype Q&A with Bold Native director Denis Henry Hennelly he said that while the laws are scary and we should be alarmed, that others that aren’t vegan or animal rights activists are also alarmed. Free speech is free speech and when you start encroaching on it anywhere it makes people nervous. So perhaps trying to hide this video is related to trying to make these videos illegal. It was one of these undercover videos that ultimately made me decide to go vegan and without them we’re just covering up the dirty secrets in our country.

So: I think Youtube is in the wrong. It does not seem to be composed of unrelated clips, and while shocking, it should be known. It should be shocking, but it’s better than left in the dark.


Aww! This baby cow picture was taken by Rodd Dierker. I love the ears on this cow!


Bold Native

Hello world!

It’s been a while. I am here, at the Let Live Conference and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to be around so many like-minded people. This conference (which I’ve never been to!) works to give animal rights advocates the skills to become animal activists. It’s this weekend, Saturday and Sunday but I got confused and thought it started tomorrow, (oops!) so we’re a day early.

However, I wouldn’t have had the unique opportunity to see the film, Bold Native. This is a movie (not a documentary) about an animal liberator, Charlie, and what lengths he goes to, and what dangerous situations he puts himself in to give animals a better home. It describes the different ideas floating around the animal rights community, and the different kinds of people that commit themselves.

It was a very refreshing film, and honestly quite terrifying. While looking through the agenda for this conference there are many speakers prepared to talk about security and how to avoid jail time; all of which I passed for other, safer talks. This movie cemented the unnecessary dangers that animal liberators go through, and the real threat that is jail time. For saving cramped chickens and fearful calves, (and for destroying factory farming property) Charlie is faced with a life sentence. (It’s also easier to feel sympathetic towards Charlie as he is quite attractive! Ha.)

I’m so glad we got here a day early and that we were able to see this film in a theatre. I didn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed for crying—instead I felt comforted by my neighbors who are the most active animal advocates I’ve ever met. At the end of the film the applause was unanimous and lasted for quite a while—no one wanted it to end. In that moment there was an unspoken feeling of gratitude for bringing us all together and reopening these ideas but also a feeling of sadness for the reason that we all had to come.

This conference is one of the stops on the tour of Bold Native, and because of this the directors, one of the producers and a couple of the actors came along with it. This secured the togetherness of the crowd, of the “choir.” (Not to mention how cool it was to see Charlie—Joaquin Pastor—in real life! AH!)

The next stop of Bold Native happens to be in Seattle, as part of the Northwest Film Forum, so you should all go and see it. (And maybe Joaquin will be there)

ALSO. You should vote for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s video to be put on Oprah’s network!


May 30, 2010, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights, Celebrities, Films | Tags: , , ,

While at Folklife yesterday, one of my wonderful table mates raved and raved about the movie, Earthlings. A wonderful film narrated by vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix (soon to be my husband) of movies like Walk the Line and Gladiator, this film describes animals and humans alike as “earthlings” or “those of the planet earth.”

Wow. Believe me, this movie is not for the faint-hearted. The 95 minutes of it were almost unbearable (and at times, they were unbearable) to watch. The utter disregard we have for animals’ lives is disgusting.

The documentary discusses 5 ways that we exploit animals: pets, food, clothing, entertainment and science. It describes how many animals are killed each year because of the refusal to spay/neuter pets or animals that are abused or given up by their owners. Hopefully how they are exploited for food is clear to you, but the film discusses each main type of animal briefly, with very graphic imagery. When the film talked about clothing, it focused on leather (but that isn’t to say wool and other types of clothing aren’t as brutal) and that was very enlightening as I hadn’t known much about that before. Zoos and circuses and the abuse these animals endure, as well as the horrible tests that animals go through, unnecessarily (I’ll blog about that a different time) are also all discussed in this film.Earthlings

I probably spent about 80 out of the 95 minutes of the film bawling my eyes out, but I couldn’t make myself turn it off. It’s so horrific but I can’t bring myself to put it out of my mind, like so many others do. It is the least that I can do to watch what these poor animals go through, and shed tears for the blood they have lost. I don’t think anyone can watch this movie and continue to eat meat. Like Paul McCartney said, “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” I’m convinced that no one (the majority at least) would want to continue to inflict that kind of harm on other living, breathing, feeling beings.

Watch it. Force yourself if you have to. If you haven’t already given up the tradition of eating meat, you will.