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Movie Review: Your Mommy Kills Animals

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Near the end of Your Mommy Kills Animals, a stunning thing happens. A lobbyist who speaks on behalf of food companies agrees with grassroots animal activist groups. They both recognize that organizations like PETA and Humans Society of the United States are corrupt, dangerous and greedy money-making schemes.

Sure, the rest of the time the lobbyist is calling groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) a bunch of terrorists, but that moment of shared sanity elevated Curt Johnson's unfortunately titled Your Mommy Kills Animals to an unexpected level.

The documentary follows the history of the Animal Welfare and Animal Rights movements from their early beginnings in 1820s England to today, where new federal laws allow organizers and activists to be prosecuted under terrorism legislation. Mostly confronting the issues of the contemporary movements, the film provides revelations and information that often go unseen by even an above-average concerned citizen.

Your Mommy Kills Animals succeeds in much the same way the Animal Rights group try to: by making the case that the subject goes beyond mere bunny hugging. One of the first stories we hear about is how, in the early 20th century, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) pushed for legislation that would eventually be used to help abused children, not just animals.

As the film progresses we are told the unbelievable story of the SHAC7, who are prosecuted under the above mentioned terrorism legislation. Your Mommy Kills Animals makes an easy case for supporting the activists on the principle of freedom of speech as they are not the ones doing any sort of illegal action. In the post-9/11 world, the cards are stacked against grassroots activists, making their ability to protest even more difficult. Animal Rights people are good at protesting, as the film illustrates by showing the other groups that use Animal Rights activists' techniques (Cindy Sheehan, for example).

As I mentioned previously, the film has the unfortunate title of Your Mommy Kills Animals, which has a preaching-to-the-choir feel to it that could limit its appeal. While the name is borrowed from a satirical PETA comic flyer, using the comic and the name in the marketing of this film may be the biggest flaw, one so striking to me that I feel it's important to mention in a review of the film.

You should see this film if you are a documentary fan, regardless of if the title makes it feel like an in-your-face indictment of all things non-vegan. It does its job and leaves the audience more informed than it was going into the film. Even the food company lobbyist has valid statements that are worth hearing.

Most of all, watch this film for what is says about the big animal protection groups that declined to be interviewed (PETA and HSUS). It may be the most enlightening moment I've had while watching a documentary in years.

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About Daniel J. Stasiewski