musings of an aquarian age counterculturist

The Story No One Wants

“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.”

Jo-Anne McArthur
We Animals

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.”

Dr. Seuss

The Ghosts in Our Machine

Last night I attended the première of The Ghosts In Our Machine at Hot Docs.  More thoughts on this later.

For now my message is this:  SEE THIS FILM.

It is a beautiful and perception changing work that covers a difficult subject in a gentle and heart opening way.  Jo-Anne McArthur’s soulful photography is stunning.

To learn more:  The Ghosts in Our Machine

the ghosts in our machine

Captain, My Captain


My Sweet Captain:

I cry for you.

Streaming, grieving, waters sliding down my cheeks.

There are those who opine that this flow of emotion ought to be checked and measured. The thought process goes something like this:  shouldn’t there be fewer tears because you were not human?; or should there be more tears because you were not?

No!  Grief cannot, should not, be judged in this way.  My tears simply exist.  Just as you, dear Captain, existed.  You existed, and you mattered.

May ALL beings on this earth, regardless of form, be shown far greater respect and decency than you were.

It is my greatest hope that in your last breathing hours you experienced a lifetime of love emanating from those kind souls who picked you up, held you close and did everything humanly and humanely possible to ease your suffering. May it be those memories of selfless compassion and caring that were the ones that guided you home.

And may the memory of the loving people who heard your cries and responded with their hearts always guide me in this intention:

Let us never say, “there is nothing I can do”.  Let us always ask,  “How can I help?”

Captain.  My Captain.  OUR Captain.  I cry for you.

Justice for Captain Petition

Toronto Pig Save

After a bit of a personal burnout phase, this organization has full on reignited the fire of my inner activist.  It is the type of grassroots activism that can truly change minds and transform hearts. These are the voices that speak up with courage in the street and not under the protection and virtual anonymity of social media posts from a comfortable armchair.

I honestly haven’t been inspired to get out and demonstrate since my carriage horse and anti-seal hunt street speak days in New York.  But this has reminded me of the importance of bearing witness.  I’m hoping to attend a vigil as soon as possible.  Want to join me?

The message is simple but profound:  Try compassion on for size.  One size fits all, and it fits perfectly.

Check it out:  Toronto Pig Save