“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them,
but to be indifferent to them:
that’s the essence of inhumanity.”
George Bernard Shaw
“This is the story no one wants.
This is the story I’ve sat with time and time again since 2011, wondering where it could go, and who would dare look.”
So begins the narration to the short film The Slaughterhouse, the first collaboration between myself and Kelly Guerin.
I first saw Kelly’s work when her film, Animal Auction, went viral in late 2014. I was really drawn to her filming, editing and sensitivity to the subject matter of our relationships with animals. I asked if she would look at, and try to make sense of, some of my more difficult material; video that I’d shot of the killing of animals, but hadn’t been able to put together in a way that didnt make people turn away. In endless emails, we mulled over how to craft this short film, and I think that, after much careful and thoughtful work, Kelly has done a really beautiful job with stitching the photos, videos and narration into what is now The Slaughterhouse.
I’ve taken photos of animals being killed in Europe, southeast Asia, North America and in Africa. It was in Tanzania that I was able to spend the most time with the workers and with the animals. I’ve witnessed the brutal treatment of animals, but at the hands of kind humans, who are frustrated, underpaid, and would rather be working elsewhere. They have almost unanimously said as much. Many of the farm and slaughter workers that I’ve encountered have been illegal and migrant workers, and have shared that they are the casualties of class of caste. And then, many of us just kill (and consume) out of ignorance. We’re not taught to think otherwise, or to open our minds and hearts to other possibilities, and caring is not only painful and challenging, but stigmatized.
Doing this shoot was hard. Really hard. But it was interesting to witness the men seeing the animals anew, through my eyes. They actually felt sympathy for me, as I struggled, at times, to maintain composure, while documenting the cows and goats being killed. Some of them expressed sympathy for the animals as well.
This is the story nobody wants to see. To look at our treatment of animals, no matter on which continent, is to witness both suffering, and our complicity in that suffering. But in bearing witness, we can learn, and change.
My hope is that, through this work, we can all look, care, share, and change.”
For more information on Jo-Anne’s important, courageous and
compassionate work, please visit: We Animals
It is my core-held belief that it is by shining light on the dark places we illuminate ourselves. Once enlightened, we can – each and every one of us – make decisions and choices every single day that contribute toward a more peaceful and compassionate world. It has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with intention and living from a place of love. Most importantly: it is never the wrong time to listen to your heart.
Wishing peace for all,
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to bet better. It’s not.”