Why do human beings subject so many animals to torture and heartache when it's unnecessary? Have we lost our ability to feel for one another, or is empathy starting to return to planet Earth? “When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness” – quote attribute to the Bhagavad Gita It wasn’t long ago when Joaquin Phoenix used his recent win at the Oscar’s to use his voice and influence to raise awareness about our relationship with nature and how that must change, with a specific reference to the dairy industry. “We’re talking about the fight against injustice, we’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control, and use and exploit another with impunity... I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world... We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth we steal her baby even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and cereal. We fear the idea of personal change, because we feel like we have to sacrifice something to give something up, but human beings at our best are so inventive and creative and ingenious and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.” (Watch his acceptance speech here). A day after the awards, he was rescuing a mother cow and her calf. Now, Joaquin is producing a movie about the sentience of pigs. He’s come on to serve as executive producer on filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky’s documentary, Gunda, which recently had its world premiere in Berlin. According to Screendaily, Phoenix, a passionate animal rights advocate, said he was deeply moved by the film as it was being finished and by Kossakovsky’s artistry. He intends to support the release of the meditation on the lives of the eponymous sow and other farm animals, which marks the follow-up to Kossakovsky’s 2018 Venice Film Festival world premiere Aquarela. UTA Independent Film Group handles North American sales and Cinephil represents international rights on the production from Norway’s Sant Usant and New York-based Louverture Films. “Gunda is a mesmerizing perspective on sentience within animal species, normally – and perhaps purposely – hidden from our view,” said Phoenix, who won the best lead actor Oscar on February 9 for Joker. “Displays of pride and reverence, amusement and bliss at a pig’s inquisitive young; her panic, despair and utter defeat in the face of cruel trickery, are validations of just how similarly all species react and cope with events in our respective lives.” “Victor Kossakovsky has crafted a visceral meditation on existence that transcends the normal barriers that separate species. It is a film of profound importance and artistry.” I can’t find a lot of information about the film, where to watch it, or if it’s even available yet, but you can view the trailer below. You can also watch an interview with Kossakovsky answering questions in English here. Animals are no different from humans in that they feel pain, they love, they have empathy and compassion, and they display a great deal of altruism–in many cases more so than humans do.
They are extremely intelligent, and we have a lot to learn from them. It’s not hard to see yourself in them, because we are similar in so many ways. Why is it ok to subject any living creature, that has as much right to be here as me and you, to any type of pain, heartache, stress or torture simply for our wants? How would you feel if this was done to you? The use of animals for anything is not needed at all, it’s only a want, a want that’s been put into place by manufacturing consent from the masses. As a result, we are causing a tremendous amount of pain to other sentient beings, not to mention destroying our environment and our health at the same time as well. Humanity has strayed far from where we need to be with regards to love, compassion, and overall recognition and awareness for the feelings of others. Having the ability to care for another, to not accept the hurt and pain of another as simply ‘normal,’ is a major step towards transforming our planet. Animal activism is at an all-time high, and it’s just going to continue to get stronger, which is because we are waking up and we are starting to ‘think’ with our hearts and actually take notice of what’s happening on our planet. We are starting to open up our eyes, and we are starting to feel for others. This is what it’s all about. Gone will be the days where it’s commonplace for another living creature to feel such unnecessary heartache and pain as a result of our unnecessary and harmful wants.
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