In the fall of 2013, my husband and I went to Cinema de Paris in Montreal to see a screening of The Ghosts in Our Machine .
I have always been a bit leery of watching movies about nonhuman animal rights, because the violence and cruelty sometimes shown in them is very hard for my heart. I don’t like to see anyone being hurt. I never wanted my own children to be sad, and still feel the same to this very day, even though they are grown and have lives of their own. When I watch movies, read books, listen to music and surf the net, I am often heartbroken for beings who are lost, hurt, sad, lonely and so on….
Too empathic, you say. Well, in some instances, certainly. I would often be paralyzed and depressed over things that were beyond my control to fix. This is not a productive way to live. But I did not know how to do differently. So, I said to myself, I will just stay away from the stuff that makes me sad. Easy fix-except that I was missing out on so much. I was missing out on the opportunity to learn, to grow as an individual and to manage my emotions.
I became more and more drawn to nonhuman animal activism, hoping to discover what my role could be in addressing this very important issue. I decided that, despite my fear, I would start looking into becoming informed about the plight of nonhuman animals who are enslaved, bred, abused and murdered for our personal pleasure. The first book I read is The Lucky Ones, My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals, by Jenny Brown. I followed this with a visit to The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which was founded and is run by Jenny and her husband, Doug Abel.
My daughter and grandchildren accompanied me on this wonderful eye opening and life affirming visit-a pilgrimage of sorts. We went on a conducted tour of the Sanctuary and learned much about the lives of farmed non human animals. My little granddaughter fell in love with Timothy the turkey who held court in the laneway and with Star, the goat. I came away with the belief that things can change for the better and actually are in the process of doing so. I decided then and there that I definitely want to be a part of this change.
My husband and I also attended a lecture given by Dr. Will Tuttle PHD about the need for compassion in advocacy for the liberation of nonhuman animals. His book, The World Peace Diet is a challenging read in some respects, but extremely informative. Dr. Tuttle illuminates the beginnings of nonhuman animal slavery for the profit as well as how deeply it is rooted in our society, in medicine, in religion and in the economy. We learn why it is wrong, what it is doing to us and the planet, and the poor creatures, both domesticated and wild, who are trapped in the cogs of this enormous and cruel industry.
Jo-Anne McArthur is the protagonist of The Ghosts in Our Machine.
IF “PHOTOGRAPHY IS TRUTH,” as Jean-Luc Godard once proclaimed, then photographer Jo-Anne McArthur’s camera is like a floodlight, illuminating what is so often hidden and dismissed in our society— the plight of animals. With her trained eye and empathetic resolve, she documents the suffering, distress, confusion and sadness of the ones who are confined; then shows us the joy and contentment of those lucky enough to be free. Jo-Anne has been putting truth on film and pixel for over ten years. She has traveled the world with her documentary project We Animals, contributing her photos to countless animal liberation campaigns. Each of her images is at once a question that lingers, a confrontation with our own conscience… and a call to action.
The Ghosts in Our Machine documents Jo-Anne’s works as a photojournalist traveling the world to document the suffering. With her photos and her words, she challenges people not to look away. Liz Marshall, the director, captures, with stunning accuracy, the stories of all the nonhuman animals who have been both captured and bred for our unnecessary consumption-for food, for clothing, for furniture, for medicine, for entertainment. These two women have managed to look into the eyes and the souls of these beings who need our protection, who are asking for their freedom. The documentary has won a number of awards and is garnering international attention. It is such an important documentary for people, vegan and non vegan alike, to see.
Annie’s Vegan View
It can open up a whole new way of looking at ourselves, our fellow beings and our planet.
Let’s stand together and save the billions of nonhumans who die needlessly worldwide each and every year for our wants, not needs.
May all beings be happy and free.