Chris and I recently watched a documentary called Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. It’s been in our periphery for a while now, but we hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I’m so glad that we finally did.
Peaceable Kingdom tells the stories of a handful of individuals in animal agribusiness who began questioning the work they were doing, leading them to make some pretty profound life changes. In the wake of reconsidering their livelihood, some of these people now offer sanctuary to rescued farm animals. Others, like former cattle rancher Howard Lyman, have written books and travel the country speaking out about the health, environmental, and ethical issues inherent to animal agriculture.
The documentary provides some information about the cruelties that underlie this industry, but it also shines a light on the beautiful lives that farmed animals can lead when offered sanctuary. There were moments that made my eyes well and breath shudder, my heart bursting with joy and pain all at the same time. Seeing these animals rejoice in being allowed the most basic right of sentient beings: life, it is starkly apparent just how much is taken from the billions of others who needlessly suffer and die within the industry.
Perhaps the most poignant aspect of this film is the stories of realization from people who were a part of this industry, people whose families and financial security were dependent on the raising and killing of animals. From early childhood experiences to fleeting moments of doubt and moral conflict, their stories feel familiar, hitting at something within the heart of each of us, something that most of us have been taught to push down, bury, and deny. Their raw honesty is compelling, heartbreaking, and inspiring.
It becomes so crystal clear while watching this film that there is another way. It’s undeniably more difficult for some to find than others, but it is possible. If they can see these truths and make these changes, certainly so can we.
The next time you’re browsing for a movie and nothing’s jumping out at you, give Peaceable Kingdom a watch. It is available for purchase in DVD format through the filmmakers’ website, via Amazon, and can be rented or purchased digitally through iTunes.