Plant-Based Series #1
Dominion is a feature-length documentary presenting an uncompromising, damning exploration of the various ways animals are used and abused by humans, particularly in the meat, dairy, egg, clothing and entertainment industries.
Filmed in Australia, ‘Dominion’ combines footage from handheld, hidden, and aerial drone cameras, much of it never seen before, to convey both the terrifying scale of an empire built on secrecy – and the individual stories of its victims.
Focusing on the legal, industry-standard practices that occur all over the world, the film questions the morality and validity of humankind’s dominion over the animal kingdom, advocating not for minor improvements to their welfare but for a deeper conversation about our right to exploit those we deem inferior to ourselves.
Yesterday was a weird day.
I didn’t really leave the house, I was just catching up with friends on the phone, baking banana bread, writing a blog post…
And for some reason the day ended with my flatmate and I watching one of the most recent and extensive documentaries on livestock farming, the meat/dairy and egg as well as fur/leather and entertainment industries such as zoos, sea life and circuses. ‘Dominion’ also included chapters about horse and greyhound racing (very popular here), rodeos, puppy farm (illegal breeding businesses for pets) and animal testing.
I don’t even know where to begin.
I already knew a lot before I watched it but I had never actually seen any full documentary like Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Earthlings or What The Health (I have been recommended all of them before but I always thought I already knew enough and I had already changed my diet and lifestyle completely compared to a few years ago).
The reason why I chose to watch Dominion was because I wanted to support my housemate in doing so and also since I was curious about the industry here in Australia.
I had seen horrendous footage from farms and slaughterhouses Germany, the US, China and other countries already but for some reason I always thought Australia was better.
They have so much space.
They have better laws.
They care more about their health and animals.
Perhaps in some cases yes, I’m sure there are nice farmers and less cruelty in some places but the large majority of ALL industries that use animals for our food, clothing or entertainment treats their livestock with little to no respect and the highest amount of suffering and cruelty you can possibly imagine.
Scratch that, WORSE than you can possibly imagine.
I knew it was gonna be bad.
But I had NO IDEA it was going to be THAT bad.
Those two hours of watching ‘Dominion’ put me through so much pain and shame to even be a human being. I felt physically empty and sick afterwards.
Those images I saw are going to haunt me for a long time.
I am scared, because what I saw in these clips where humans.
My own kind committing the worst crimes imaginable against other sentient beings.
I didn’t have to watch it.
I didn’t need it, but I am glad I did because it was the best reminder for me to keep going, to keep doing everything I can to make a positive change, to use my energy and my voice to raise awareness and to help where I can.
I will never go back to the way I used to think about animal products.
(quick disclaimer: I am the daughter of a hunter, I was raised eating plenty of meat, fish, eggs and dairy, I wasn’t given a choice or appropriate information earlier in my life. I started to do research when I was 16 and now at almost 24 I have been plant-based for almost 2 years and have never been happier/healthier but more on that later.)
Dominion was without a doubt the most horrific documentary I have ever watched in my life and it is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
I am a highly sensitive person and trust me when I say, I definitely ruined my day by watching that but it was a great way to refresh my knowledge and remind myself WHY I want to fight for animal rights, why I have conversations about this topic with people and why I am writing this right now.
But this isn’t about me.
This issue is so global that ALL OF US should educate ourselves and do our best to help improve the situation piece by piece.
As I was watching it I really struggled to have some faith in humanity.
How can we fix something that is SO messed up?!
In fact though, things ARE getting better and better everyday.
People are re-thinking their food choices.
We are becoming more aware.
Many of us turn to a more plant-based diet or at least cut out processed meat.
Now, this is a difficult topic but I think switching to organic and local produce is at least a step into the right direction. There is still cruelty happening on organic farms and in the end you don’t know where the meat etc. is actually coming from, unless you go there by yourself but I wouldn’t say that there is no difference to conventional produce at all.
The very few times I do eat eggs for instance, I do my best to eat as little as possible and get good quality produce HOPING the animals were kept under more respectful circumstances.
Again, I still can’t make sure of that so I am always looking for new ways to change my diet to be entirely vegan.
(another disclaimer: I have IBS and am unable to eat most grains and legumes are hard on my stomach as well which is why I struggled to eat completely vegan in the past. I’m really trying to find a way to follow a vegan diet though, especially after yesterday. If you’re vegan and reading this and you have tips for me, please reach out, I’d love to chat!!)
I really wanted to get some things off my chest as this topic has become so close to my heart.
I think it is our responsibility as loving, kind and compassionate beings to alleviate this suffering and make more responsible choices.
I will not be pushy or trying to convince everyone to become plant-based tomorrow as I know it is a process (it took me over a year to cut out meat completely) but if you would like some support, more information or just a chat about this I am so happy to start this conversation in a peaceful way.
I will not force anyone to watch horrible videos or confront them with the shocking facts all the time but I think everyone should be at least aware of what is going on behind closed doors and then make an informed decision on their diet/lifestyle.
I have linked all the big documentaries in the beginning of the post, if you do feel like educating yourself that way. Even though it was hard, I am glad I watched some footage, I really needed the initial shock years ago because, like most people, I had no idea what was going on.
At the bottom of this post are some more resources and I also wrote another posts about more reasons why I went plant-based and what happened to my body and in my life since then, if you’d like to check that out here.
(Final and last disclaimer: I am not telling anyone to go vegan right away, I myself am not fully there yet, as mentioned above. I made it a priority to stop eating meat and I’m gradually finding ways to get the appropriate nutrition on a vegan and gluten-free diet. I think it is every humans responsibility though to not turn a blind eye so please educate yourselves and try making more ethical choices/eat at least a little less animal products if you can’t cut them out completely any time soon. If everyone would do that we would already be so much further ahead and it would be a huge improvement!)
The videos below are simply to provide more information in a less graphic way than watching a documentary like ‘Dominion’ that focuses mainly on violent and cruel footage.
I don’t think is wrong to show those clips because they display the reality and it is important not to sugarcoat what is going on.
I do understand though that most people refuse to put themselves through the pain of watching these videos and I think ultimately the decision to stop eating meat and animal products has to come from within you and for most people it isn’t enough to watch 10 minutes of slaughterhouse footage.
You have to want to make a change, otherwise your decisions, of whichever kind, will not be sustainable.
You have to find reasons strong enough for you to be willing to change the way you look at food and your daily habits.
If your motivation is strong enough, it will be easy.
People always ask me how I did it and that it would be ‘so difficult’ for them to stop.
I never found it difficult because I WANTED TO.
I saw no other ethical choice for me other than to stop so even when it was challenging (to find options in restaurants or with friends/family or when dealing with judgement/jokes), my motivation overpowered the difficulties a dozen times.
I never forced myself to stop eating meat from one day to the other, I gradually decreased my consumption of animal products more and more while simultaneously becoming more informed and educated and really aware of what I was doing and how my actions and choices were affecting me, my health, the planet and other beings.
If I felt like eating meat, I did but I was fully aware of everything I had seen and read and really asked myself what matters more: The fact that I crave this ‘food’ or the life of a sentient being?
Is it really worth it?
I remember the last time I ate meat.
It got so bad that my body was almost immediately rejecting it.
I had the craving, I gave in and tried a little bit and right away felt disgusted by the taste of death, the thought of the suffering I consumed, the consequences our food choices have for our whole plant… Long story short, it just made me sick.
I stopped myself for a moment and observed my reaction.
Why am I consuming this? It makes me feel bad, it is bad for the planet, the animals and I don’t see how it is necessary for me or my happiness.
Then I made a promise to myself:
That’s it, I have had enough. I will never eat meat again.
And like that, I quit. Done.
I haven’t looked back since.
I haven’t missed it, I haven’t suffered any lack or deficiencies and on the contrary, I gained so much (a post about the positive changes I experienced is coming!).
Does it still cross my mind to eat meat sometimes?
Yes, occasionally, just as a quick random thought though, not a real, intense craving.
I have at least 10 reasons not to eat it anymore and no valid one to do so. So I don’t.
To be honest even if I would ever get a real craving for it, I think I would be sick before the fork reaches my mouth, I don’t think I could eat it ever again.
When I stopped looking at meat as ‘food’ and started to see it as a piece of an animal that used to be alive, my taste buds changed completely.
Also, I don’t know about you but under any circumstances I can imagine, (unless maybe if I was in the wild fighting for survival), I could never take the life of an animal so I don’t see how I ever thought it was ‘normal’ or ‘okay’ for me to eat it.
We don’t need to hunt and kill anymore, their lives are not ours to take, their fate should never be ours to decide upon.
I will leave it here for now, I know this is a controversial and sensitive topic but I tried my best to phrase everything in a rational and calm way, hoping not to trigger anyone.
Let me know if you have any questions or would like to have a chat.