Some are films and videos.
And of those, some are in-your-face graphic and shocking, such as the Scared Straight of animal advocacy documentaries, Earthlings, and PETA's classic Meet Your Meat.
Others, like the award-winning documentary Peaceable Kingdom, mitigate hard-to-bear moments of brutal, cover-your-eyes reality with no less emotionally overwhelming oases of peace, beauty and hope.
The Ghosts in Our Machine – a new feature-length documentary from Canada – is in the second category.
Directed by Liz Marshall, Ghosts lets us tag along with animal holocaust “war photographer” Jo-Anne McArthur (to quote her sad-eyed, mordant self-description), usually undercover in places we're never supposed to see (the “machine” where so much of our food, fibre and medicine comes from), but also in places of compassion, like Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York, where many of the very same species live free, content and unmolested.
|A newborn calf awaits life in a crate.
Photo from the online gallery of Jo-Anne McArthur.
Marshall and McArthur bring the ghosts in our machine to life. And those animals' faces, so redolent of personhood, of naked fear, curiosity, affection and pleasure, may never stop haunting you. And that's a good thing.
View the trailer and visit the website to find out where to see The Ghosts in Our Machine.