This HBO documentary takes a look at the organization known as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). To say the least, this is a controversial group, sanctified by some, and reviled by many.  At the center of PETA is Ingrid Newkirk, a person who is on many peoples ‘hit list’. The courtroom argument always goes ‘there are two sides to every story’, and indeed that is a true statement. At the very center of this argument is the subject of ethics, and how we, as the dominant force on the planet apply our version of ethics to the treatment of animals. Do we have any right to have pets, use them for research projects, use animal skins, or eat them? That is the question that PETA asks.

We get to glimpse inside the world of PETA, both the leadership of the organization by Ingrid Newkirk, her personal beliefs and techniques, and the fanaticism shown by some of the more active members. And while I am not sure that I agree with all of their goals, I have to agree with them that the mistreatment of animals is a deplorable thing. The stark images used, and the verbal descriptions of life in the slaughterhouse are probably not what you want to listen and watch just before you eat!

I Am An Animal is not for the feint of heart, there is footage that will shock even the most seasoned veteran of war and gore. It took me two tries to get past the first 10 minutes of this program, the effort though was worth it. I certainly know much more about PETA as a result.

It really does not matter if you love them or hate them, this is a very interesting peek inside this organization, and one that supporters and detractors alike can gain some valuable information from.

I Am An Animal premieres Monday November, 19th, on HBO at 8pm. You can sample a couple of clips (Quicktime format), Trailer, Trailer, before the actual show. My advice is that if you do decide to watch the actual program make sure that you are not sitting at the dinner table while you do so!

Simon Barrett 

Be Sociable, Share!