Documentary Review: The Ghosts in Our Machine

Happy World Vegan Day!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wished people that already today but it still puts a smile on my face to say (or type).

So, I’m back. I mentioned on social media but my Masters degree in Creative Writing kicked my ass much more than I had prepared myself for and as such I put all this blogging business aside for quite some time. But I’m well rested and rearing to go again so here we go!

I woke in the early hours to find it was actually too early to get up and do anything that may wake up my still sleeping parents. Natural answer?  TV, duh! Had a little browse and found The Ghosts in our Machine. The documentary is about three years old now but I’ve been meaning to watch it for ages. What better time than this morning?

This is what the companion website says about the film:

“With the exception of our companion animals and the wild and stray species within our urban environments, we experience animals daily only as the food, clothing, animal tested goods and entertainment we make of them. This moral dilemma is largely hidden from our view.

Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur

“THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world. Through the heart and photographic lens of animal rights photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur, audiences become intimately familiar with a cast of non-human animals. From undercover investigations to joyful rescue missions, in North America and in Europe, each photograph and story is a window into global animal industries: Food, Fashion, Entertainment and Research. THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic that most of humankind strives hard to avoid.

“Are non-human animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights?”

I thought the whole thing, from beginning to end was amazing. Like any documentary should be, it educates through visuals. A lot of it is dialogue-free with low music playing alongside photographs or video clips of animals in both the worst and best scenarios possible. It was like giving that much sought after voice to the voiceless. You make eye contact with those animals through the lens and you cannot help but feel despair or joy for them, depending on the situation at hand. Some are walking over the threshold to their new adoptive homes after being tested and experimented on for years, while others are in tiny metal cages for a lifetime, waiting to be slaughtered like those in neighbouring cages, all for their fur pelts.


Abbey on her way to her new home

The documentary is very informative about the fur industry, the animal-testing industry, the aquarium business and so much more including rescues and sanctuaries. I won’t say it’s all easily digested but it’s not supposed to be. It’s difficult to watch at time. If you have it on in the background, it’s difficult to listen to at times. But it’s still very much worth exposing yourself to.

Warning: Maybe don’t watch alone. Try your best to have a cuddle buddy/crying partner with you because you’ll needs each other at times during this 92min must-see documentary.

Liz Marshall

The film was produced and directed by Liz Marshall, who who is currently producing her new project, MEAT THE FUTURE, a documentary about the clean meat movement and the future of food.




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