The movie was powerful and moving, without being horrifically upsetting (I still haven’t seen Earthlings for precisely that reason.) Though that’s not to say it wasn’t moving (or upsetting), and I may have cried quietly to myself throughout the film (along with several other snifflers in the audience.) It was beautifully shot and put together, with a thoughtful use of music to present the story and ambiance.
I watched the film as both a vegan and a once upon a time scientist (though my subjects were volunteering humans). I have heard arguments from both sides (and I think it’s probably clear which one I’m on.) Showing the point of view of the humans that were once involved in animal research, with a compassionate lens was intentional and one of the strengths of this film, because I think it has the ability to inspire a shift in perception on both sides.
I was left with the impression that people involved in animal medical research are not necessarily dispassionate monsters, but people telling themselves a series of justifications on why they are doing what they’re doing. One of the people in the film, Dr. John Pippin, discussed (his own) cognitive dissonance as a former research cardiologist (now the Director of Academic Affairs at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) was fascinating and telling. When searching for Dr. Pippin, and his role in the film I found this interview with him on Animal Voices (that he happened to do with Karol) – worth a listen.
Small efforts towards this make a big difference. Underlining the realities of an industry regulated by itself (and the inefficacy of that) or research ethics boards that may not be considering all angles. Empowering students to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to dissection and experimentation. Films like these make a difference. Events like these make a difference. Groups like the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group make a difference.
There was lots of great discussion during the Q&A, and recommended reading & resources that I’m grateful for. If you have the opportunity to see this film in your city please do so.
You can see the trailer here:
and more here: http://maximumtolerateddose.org/about