There's a stark contrast between the wholesome image Big Agriculture wants to project to the public and the grotesque realities that exist within the confines of their slaughterhouse factories. We witness this contrast from the opening frames of Dominion as it cuts from the graceful glides of polished drone footage to graphic and grainy surveillance videos of animal torture.
There are many moments in Dominion that might elicit horror and disgust. Those reactions are entirely appropriate and necessary. It is obviously the filmmaker's belief that this degree of cruelty should be displayed and called out for what it is.
Whether they're harvested for food, clothing, entertainment or scientific research, these animals endure unspeakable torment, devastating living conditions, genetic manipulation and an even ghastlier demise. This is true of all of the animals portrayed in the film - pigs, chicken, cows, sheep, fish, rabbits, dogs and horses.
Through the film, we are provided with a series of distressing statistics. Over 700 million pigs were slaughtered in China last year alone. An outbreak of disease in one Australian chicken ranch led to the recalling of over 400,000 hens.
We witness cows as they are sobbing and skinned alive. Sheep are beaten mercilessly with the bare fists of their captors. Horses are shot in cages and carved for their meat. Puppies are pulled from the streets and beaten with hammers. The camera tracks across endless fields of slaughtered animal carcasses. These are not isolated incidents of underground loners with a superiority complex over the animal kingdom; these incidents occur within the operations of major industries. It's rough viewing, but the images - and the issues they reflect - will likely stay with you for a long time.
Dominion is also distinguished by its roster of all-star narrators, including musician Sia and actors Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara. While the film focuses on the agricultural industries in Australia, the practices portrayed in the film are far too commonplace in regions all over the world. Beneath the shockwaves of its graphic imagery, the film is really pointing the finger at our complicity with these cruel practices. How can the human species tolerate and condone this carnage?
Directed by: Chris Delforce