Friday, January 15, 2010

One Planet - Animals and Us

The BBC program One Planet recently aired a two-part series called Animals and Us by Victor Schonfeld.

Schonfeld produced The Animals Film twenty-eight years ago.

I've never seen The Animals Film, but it looks like it was one of the first of its kind. It seems to me that it was Earthlings before Earthlings was Meet Your Meat.

So now Schonfeld has produced a two-part radio series, "to give a very personal view on what, if anything, has changed since then."

Listen here:
Part 1
Part 2

Gary Francione (who is interviewed in each broadcast), Roger Yates and Elizabeth Collins did post-show commentaries which can be listened to here (review of part 1) and here (review of part 2). I have to admit I haven't listened through both commentaries yet, but I know Gary's podcasts (not to mention his guests) are always insightful and thought-provoking, so I feel confident in linking to them here.

I felt that Animals and Us was well done. Shonfeld, largely by virtue of interviewing Francione, gave quite a bit of air-time to criticism of the use of animals (as opposed to just focusing on the treatment).

Schonfeld is clearly taking an activist stance in these broadcasts, which I find refreshing. He states early on in each broadcast, "Be warned. This is not balanced dispassionate journalism. I'm opposed to animal suffering for human needs and pleasures, as are most of the people we'll be hearing from."

Given his activist stance, my main qualm was that there was too much of a focus on lab animals in the second broadcast (pretty much the whole thing). The overwhelming majority of animal exploitation occurs within animal agriculture. That's not to say that we shouldn't also care and talk about vivisection, fur, circuses and zoos. But when all you have is two 28 minute broadcasts I think the most productive angle to take, from an efficient activist point of view, is to focus on the use of animals for food.

Not a huge qualm, but a qualm nonetheless.

Did you listen to Animals and Us? Have you seen The Animals Film?

If so, what did you think?

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