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Speciesism The Movie 2013 :: The Progressive Torrents Community
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Speciesism The Movie 2013




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699.26 MB

Date/time added:

2014-02-15 22:50:39


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Every now and then, a movie comes along that is capable of
fundamentally changing the worldview of its audience. [48]Speciesism:
The Movie, a new documentary by Mark Devries, is that kind of film.

The word "speciesism," which has been popularized by Princeton
bioethicist [49]Peter Singer, refers to the assumption that a vast gulf
exists between the ethical value of human interests and the ethical
value of the interests of other animals. At its extreme, we may see
ourselves as the only species that matters morally, and view other
animals as existing merely for our use: to eat, to make into clothing,
to perform experiments on, to be entertained by in circuses and zoos.
Like those who grew up having overt racist beliefs assimilated into
their worldview, some degree of speciesism has been so well-assimilated
into the worldview of most of us that it does not even appear to be
worth questioning.

Of course, other animals possess the same five physiological senses
that we do, as well as the capacity for a wide range of emotions. In
her introduction to [50]The Inner World of Farm Animals, Dr. Jane
Goodall writes that "farm animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement
and resentment, depression, fear, and pain. They are far more aware and
intelligent than we ever imagined . . . they are individuals in their
own right."

And Dr. Temple Grandin, in [51]Animals in Translation, writes that
"When it comes to the basics of life . . . [other] animals feel the
same way we do." She goes on to explain that both humans and other
animals share both the exact same core emotions ("rage, prey chase
drive, fear, and curiosity/interest/anticipation") and the same "four
basic social emotions: sexual attraction and lust, separation distress,
social attachment, and the happy emotions of play and roughhousing."

So, our worldview may be worth questioning.

Yet, the ramifications entailed in questioning our speciesist
assumptions are tremendous: Our entire political discourse centers on
how policies will affect humans. If we conclude that speciesism is not
justifiable, our thinking about nearly everything in our lives will
undergo a transformation.

Prominent philosophers and scientists have criticized speciesist
assumptions for many years--in writing. But, as far as I know, these
questions have never become the centerpiece of a film. Not only
does Speciesism: The Movie ask these life-changing questions, but it
does so while taking viewers on an adventure that is tremendously
entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny.

Devries goes to great lengths to put together a thoughtful and
entertaining film--whether commissioning an airplane to fly over
factory farms giant "manure lagoons" with an anti-CAFO Republican from
North Carolina, or (somehow) scheming his way into receiving a guided
tour of a factory farm.

Along the way, he meets and questions a remarkably broad range of
people, including Peter Singer (whom the New Yorker has named "one of
the most influential philosophers alive"), Richard Dawkins (the most
influential evolutionary biologist of the past century), and Temple
Grandin (designer of the animal handling systems used by over half of
the slaughterhouses in the United States).

He also speaks with anti-factory farming activists, a man who is dying
next to a huge hog farm, a current member of the American Nazi Party, a
disability rights activist, a vivisector, quite a few people on the
street, and more--all in his quest to thoroughly consider the
philosophy that says that bias on the basis of species is
unjustifiable. Disclaimer: He also spoke with me.

Above all, Devries confronts some very difficult and uncomfortable
questions head-on. For example: How strong are the grounds for
believing that humans have special moral worth? How valid are the
comparisons between our use of other animals and the slavery of other
humans?

For those unfamiliar with speciesism, there may be no more enjoyable
introduction to this fascinating subject than Speciesism: The Movie.
For those familiar with the topic, and searching for a way to introduce
friends and family to the deeper questions, this film may be the
perfect solution.

For everyone, watching Devries movie is an enjoyable and
thought-provoking way to spend 90 minutes.


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