Last night we had the good fortune to attend the world premiere of “Speciesism: The Movie”, a film that explores why humans consider themselves to be the most important species on the planet, and the ethical implications of such a belief system.
Writer/director Mark Devries isn’t your typical filmmaker. He started the film when he was twenty, finished when he was twenty-three, then put it on the shelf for three years while he attended law school. After doing a few small screenings and being told how impactful the film was, he decided to bring it into the world to hopefully help others rethink their relationship with animals.
The movie definitely has that homegrown feel, but more important than perfect sound or camerawork are the thought-provoking interviews Devries scored with everyone from Peter Singer to Bruce Friedrich to Richard Dawkins. Devries positions himself as the man on the street, looking up all the counter-arguments he could find on why humans use and abuse animals, and then asks the impressive roster of experts those questions. They rip to shreds every single reason humans put themselves at the top of the food chain. Ever wanted a quick retort for your debates with your uncle at Thanksgiving when he tells you why humans should eat animals? This film will give you all the great responses you could ever desire. I left, even after working in animal rights for over seven years, feeling like I was better equipped to make my case.
The word speciesism is well-known in the animal rights world, but if you said it to the typical person, they would have no idea what you were talking about. Racism? Sexism? Of course. But speciesism, defined by Merriam Webster as “prejudice or discrimination based on species; especially : discrimination against animals”, would leave the person baffled. The belief that humans are superior is thought to be fact, unquestionable, and therefore, the bigotry is left hidden in plain sight. We don’t question our treatment of animals because as humans, we believe we have the right to cause others pain for our own comfort. Sadly, we sure do cause a lot of pain, and we do it as if it’s no big deal, as if we have the right to treat animals as objects even though they think and feel, some argue, more intensely than we do.
Thankfully, “Speciesism: The Movie” is here to put the notion that humans are superior to bed, and to make the word speciesism as well-known as all the other isms. I think more than a few people will be convinced to alter their worldview based on this film. Especially those who enjoy a good debate, and who are open enough to let ethics and logic influence their thoughts and behavior.
Check out the trailer below and make sure to get your tickets in advance for “Speciesism: The Movie” as it travels to Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Chicago and Washington D.C.