The Ghosts In Our Machine

Animal Legal Defense Fund

“THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE brings to light the haunting ways the ‘machine’ of our modern world transforms sentient beings, suffering by the billions in the shadows on factory farms, in laboratories, and in the fur industry and other abusive industries, into mere specters. The film serves as a rallying cry for animal advocates and questions the legal status of animals as property.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s work with THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE is an important partnership for our organization, which has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system for 35 years. Central to the systems of abuse that we are working to dismantle is the legal categorization of animals as ‘property,’ no different than a car, or a chair. THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE makes real for its audiences the sentience of individual animals. And it is only in the context of a growing cultural recognition of nonhuman animal sentience that ALDF will succeed in changing the legal categorization of animals and ultimately win basic protections for them under the law.

Screenings of Ghosts stand to make a real difference for animals by giving galvanized viewers immediate ways to take action on their behalf—for example, by connecting them with ALDF’s national Animal Bill of Rights campaign. Participants in this campaign would be given the resources to contact their elected officials, become further educated on the issues of animals’ legal property status and models for improvement, garner support for their own grassroots initiatives, and join ALDF in our goal of reaching one million signatures to present to Congress.”

Animal Legal Defense Fund
Photo courtesy of ALDF

For thirty-five years, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. Today, ALDF’s groundbreaking efforts to push the U.S. legal system to end the suffering of abused animals are supported by thousands of dedicated attorneys and more than 100,000 members. Every day, ALDF works to protect animals by:

  • Filing groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse and expand the boundaries of animal law.
  • Providing free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases.
  • Working to strengthen state anti-cruelty statutes.
  • Encouraging the federal government to enforce existing animal protection laws.
  • Providing public education through seminars, workshops and other outreach efforts.

Among our most beloved campaigns is our Animal Bill of Rights campaign—because, despite the fact that they are living, feeling beings, animals in the U.S. are still considered merely “property” by law—in most cases no different than a table or a chair. ALDF’s Animal Bill of Rights is a petition to the United States Congress, stating the basic, inalienable rights that all sentient beings have—and that our government should protect. More than a quarter-million Americans have already signed the Animal Bill of Rights…and we are pushing to gather one million signatures.

Read our Interview with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.


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  1. Diane March 4, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    So glad that you are partnering, and bringing the crucial issue of animal sentience into the spotlight.