Video Essay: What Do Animals Deserve?

Above is my video essay on animal rights. It is concerned with the conceptual questions: what do animals deserve?, and attempts to make a case for animals being endowed with a right to the physical world as humans understand it.

I tried to do two things: 1) establish that animals communicate and are emotional 2) express the issues with human disrespect for physical animals

During discussion, one of my colleagues, an English PHD, brought up the luck I had with the sound of a baby crying out while Ellie spoke about animals communicate without traditional language. It raised the point that humans do it too.

Another of my colleagues appreciated that I did not take the PETA strategy of showing blood and gore, and instead I focused on positives. Although I do believe avoidance of blood and gore is a very legitimate reason to treat animals well, I chose to show how behaving as a sensitive and aware person can benefit humans, animals, and societies. There are lots of great reasons to treat animals well, and they are not all about blood. The truth is, animals are still a mystery, and they are amazing.

In terms of Visual Culture, strategy is important to consider in the specific case of animal rights. Had I made this case in a traditional text on paper argument, a lot would have been lost. When you can hear an animal making loving sounds or angry sounds, less text is needed for the audience to understand the argument, and the argument’s position is immediately placed in the audiences member’s head. To evoke a flow of emotions, thorough editing is necessary. How two visual cuts are paired can either make a point or break it. Because emotion is generally easy to inspire, to create a compelling video essay, sound, visual, and text must complement each other. I believe a video essay is the best way to make the argument I make above.

Do video essays have to adhere to the structure of a traditional text essay, or is a more liberal structure acceptable?
Animal rights is a controversial issue in American culture. Does a video essay make it more or less controversial than a traditional text essay?
Are there certain causes that would benefit more from a text essay than a video essay, or is a video essay always superior to a text essay?

I recommend everyone go hug a cow. There really isn’t anything like it.

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3 comments
  1. The final slow-motion moments of this are so captivating.

  2. I thought the fact that the animals are the only beings we can consistently see without any interference was very effective. It really helped solidify and communicate their centrality to the narrative.

  3. mary artemis said:

    There was beauty in the Simplicity of the message and in the message itself. I believe it was Love being denoted, and gazing on, hearing, touching and considering these beings with similarity to our own expression evoked this. The simple teaching by the woman at the farm conveyed the explanation of this similarity. And the statements and descriptions of the troubled animals coupled with the statement that “Animals are amazing. Sometimes troubled youth visit the barn and the animals and youth help each other heal..” was so Powerful and the ending made me cry. These animals were so beautiful and my only solace was seeing the people there treating them so gently and lovingly.

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