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Earthlings - Discussion

One of the joys of writing a column is hearing back from readers, regardless of whether they loved or hated the read.

Even more rewarding is when readers help inform and educate through letters to the editor, as Lucinda Kiessling of Waterloo and Michael Hayward of Toronto did when responding to my column, "Throw another soydog on the barbie" (Chronicle, Aug. 9, 2006). It was through these that I first heard of the film Earthlings.

Earthlings (2005) is a documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals for pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research.

Narrated by actor, animal rights activist and vegan Joaquin Phoenix, it is unquestionably the most gripping, thought-provoking film I've ever seen. It is also extremely graphic.

Directed by Shaun Monson, this comprehensive documentary indicts all of us for permitting abominable treatment of animals living among us.

With much of the footage captured by hidden cameras, the 95-minute film chronicles the horrific day-to-day practices of some of the largest industries in the world, which rely entirely on animals for

The documentary opens by defining an earthling as an inhabitant of the earth. "Since we all inhabit the earth, all of us are considered earthlings," says Phoenix. He explains that "all of us" includes all species, not just humans who overrule the interests of all other species and exploit them.

Pet stores and puppy mills are the first places the film takes viewers to illustrate the correlations between animals and human economic interests.

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