eleventhbeatnik

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,
eleventhbeatnik

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to bet better.  It’s not.”

Dr. Seuss


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Sustainability: Secret No More

Please take the time to watch this brilliant documentary. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is required viewing for anyone who even remotely cares about the environment, human health and animal welfare.

This mind-blowing film is so well done.  If the stats revealed here do not pull our collective heads out of the sand, I honestly don’t know what will.

Kindly support the filmmakers who did such an outstanding job despite many roadblocks along the way by purchasing the download or DVD from the documentary’s website:  Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

As Maya Angelou once said:

“Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better”.


The Epic Disconnect

The horrifying Bangladesh factory fire that killed over 500 people weighs heavily in my thoughts.

Following the various media articles in the days after the tragedy has raised more questions than answers for me.  We are all consumers, and as such, it seems to me that we all play a direct role in one way or another.

One angle the news coverage focuses on is corporations continuing production in Bangladesh with a view to raising standards for factory workers.  Another angle focuses on companies withdrawing completely from factory production in Bangladesh.  Reviewing the arguments presented in favour of either approach leaves me more confused than ever.  It seems to me that both paths court an unsavoury shadow side.  Which also gets me thinking with great concern about the companies involved that have said nothing at all.

The whole thing is a complicated and emotional topic, and clearly I’m no expert.  All I know for certain is that I don’t want anyone to suffer or die making clothes for me to buy cheap or otherwise.

I felt somewhat heartened to notice a few solution based commentaries appearing here and there in Canadian media with the intent of instructing readers how to become  “ethical” consumers.  Which sounds all well and good on paper, but I found myself wondering how “ethical consumerism” can possibly be achieved when the term is already a conflict in and of itself.  Avoiding the lowest price tags can by no means guarantee that a product is not sweat-shop derived.  Reading further, I found the Canadian press machine essentially promoting the purchase of local-centric Canadian made products as a form of direct consumer action.  Then, along that very “buy local” line of thinking, I encountered an opinion piece that absolutely floored me.  Why?

Said article recommended purchasing from Canadian manufacturers such as Stanfields underwear and …wait for it … Canada Goose jackets. (!!!!!!)

Hold up.  REALLY?????

I went into rewind mode on that one a few times to make sure I hadn’t misread it.  Yep.  That’s right folks.  Canada Goose and ETHICAL were actually uttered in the same sentence.

My head is still exploding with disbelief.  The disconnect here is beyond epic.  What can possibly be ethical, or compassionate, or decent or moral about this:  Deconstructing Canada Goose

Perhaps there is no one absolutely right answer to ensuring we are not directly supporting factory sweatshop conditions with our purchases.  It is true that we can always make better choices and inform ourselves as much as possible based on the information available.  But a discussion of ethics centred around the idea of exchanging one killing field for another?   This makes absolutely no reasonable sense to me.  How could it?

Ignorance is most assuredly not bliss.

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What Do You See in Fur Trim?

This is a terrific ad campaign currently running on the subway in Toronto:Image

Please support the Fur Bearer Defenders in the important and compassionate work they do by informing yourself, sharing the information and/or making a donation.  Doing a little research and reading labels can make a big impact. There are many cruelty free garment alternatives available these days. This means that every time you choose to purchase a non-animal derived product it is a direct vote against an industry driven by consumer demand.

The Campaign Page:
Fur Trim is a Trap