Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home (2009)

Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you any more.

Franz Kafka, Novelist

Run time: 1h 18mins

Director: Jenny Stein

Language: English

IMDb rating: 8.6/10

In One Sentence What Is Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home About?

Sanctuary owners and former farmers discuss their experiences with animals and how for some, the relationships they built with those they kept caused them to change their practices.

Brief Synopsis

By interviewing and following those who work or have worked with domesticated animals, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home compares the clinical nature of the way in which animals are treated to its effect on those who work with them. Owners of a sanctuary for rescued animals describe some of the conditions they have witnessed animals being kept in and how these creatures have gone onto flourish once being rescued and given a chance.  Former farmers and ranchers open up about the emotional strains of sending animals they have reared and grown attached to, to slaughter by recounting personal, saddening stories.

The realisation is that each is an individual in its own right and no matter how lovingly an animal is raised, their manner and time of death is still determined for them.

The Trailer

Why Is Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home A Vegan Documentary?

Many vegans and those who choose to adopt a plant-based diet do so because at some point, which may not be definable, a greater understanding and appreciation of animals has been reached.

What Peaceable Kingdom offers up in more depth is that this understanding can be attained by those who have previously been involved in raising animals for food. For example, former ranchers like Howard Lyman, who you may well have seen featured in other documentaries, describe how they have partaken in methods of mutilation (like the branding of cattle) and witnessed the slaughter of countless animals. People like him eventually find the courage to turn against everything they previously accepted as normal- something a vegan does at the point of becoming one.  

The documentary relays the story and shows footage of a farm damaged by a tornado, whose owners deemed it more financeable viable to have the thousands of chickens they owned thrown into a tip (dumpster) and gassed rather than saved. And this is the crux of it for most in the meat and dairy industries- that animals are only valuable in terms of the money they bring in.

A mix of hiding emotion and desensitisation enabled people to keep working , but for many, eventually, this toll became too much and they recognised that there was something inherently wrong with they were doing.  The average person does not have to witness the killing floor of an abattoir and can create a form of mental ignorance between their eating habits and morals and therefore not confront the truth. It’s out of sight out of mind. 

If images of cruelty fail to ignite change, then perhaps being witness to sheep leaping into the air after being rescued from squalid conditions and released into fresh pasture will provide the impetus.  Watching them reunite with those they have known all their lives may cause doubters to begin to understand that traditional farm animals, rather than being mere commodities to be owned and exploited, have the same urges we do. To play. To look after young. To survive.

Where And How To Watch Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home

Watch for free online here

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