The Ghosts In Our Machine

Ingrid Newkirk

“I grew up watching what we almost reverentially, certainly lovingly, called “boring documentaries,” because we were thirsty for anything that came along, and no matter what they were about, we drank them in. Most of them taught us things we hadn’t even contemplated, regarding subjects we had never thought about exploring. What a long way we’ve come. This rich, riveting film [The Ghosts In Our Machine] shows that. It also shows that although, like the old films, it too will certainly increase our understanding and open our eyes, in this case perhaps wider than they’ve ever been opened before. It will also open minds and hearts. It is compelling and clever: it moves us while also riveting us to the spot as we see, perhaps for the first time, the extraordinary contrast between anima and automated, the souls amid the clanging steel. In much the way Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, did in its time, this film has the potential to broaden our view of those around us, to suggest their potential and their reality, cause us to pick apart our prejudices, and raise the potential for consideration, understanding and inclusion, to change a world view. A phenomenal contribution to film and society.”

Ingrid Newkirk
Founder, PETA
photo courtesy of PETA

Ingrid Newkirk is an animal rights activist, an author, and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is best known for the animal rights awareness campaigns she organizes on behalf of PETA, which she cofounded in 1980. As PETA’s president, Ingrid has spoken internationally on animal rights issues—from the steps of the Canadian Parliament to the streets of New Delhi, India, and from the drowning tanks of Taiwan to the halls of the U.S. Congress.

PETA’s founders sought to give caring people something more that they could do and to provide them ways to actively change society. They wanted to promote a healthy vegan diet and show how easy it is to shop cruelty-free. They wanted to protest, loudly and publicly, against cruelty to animals in all its forms, and they wanted to expose what really went on behind the very thick, soundproof walls of animal laboratories.

Since it was founded, PETA has exposed horrific animal abuse in laboratories, leading to many firsts, including canceled funding, closed facilities, seizure of animals, and charges filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. PETA has also closed the largest horse-slaughter operation in North America, convinced dozens of major designers and hundreds of companies to stop using fur, ended all car-crash tests on animals, cleaned up wretched animal pounds, helped schools switch to alternatives to dissection, and provided millions of people with information on vegetarianism, companion animal care, and countless other issues. Read more about PETA’s history.

Read our Interview with Ingrid Newkirk.


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  1. rstarr June 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    After reading Ms. Newkirk’s review I’m even more eager to see this film. I really hope it’s an eye-opener for my non-vegan family and friends. ‘Ghosts’ seems such an apt word to describe the animals so few of us pause to think about, who are exploited for food, clothing, entertainment, and dozens of other ways every day.

  2. ElaineS June 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I’ve long admired Ingrid Newkirk and applaud all she’s done for animals. I’m a PETA member and I’m eager to see the film now. It’s nice to hear about a film with a responsible message and not costumed animals who are forced to do silly tricks for our amusement.

  3. Athena June 3, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I respect Ingrid Newkirk and the work that PETA does. This review leaves me intrigued and inspired to learn more, see more, and change more. I’m excited to check out this new film. Thanks!

  4. Harold June 4, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Definately a film I want to see after reading the comments by Ms. Newkirk. Having looked at the website of PETA and seeing what they do and what they have achieved, I will definately join them. Thanks

  5. LucyP June 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I have wanted to see this film since I first heard of it. Now I’m even more excited for it, since it comes highly recommended by Ms. Newkirk, who has done more to help animals and further the animal rights movement than anyone I can think of. I hope this film will open many people’s eyes and inspire them to treat animals more compassionately.

  6. FashionFan June 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    If this film is anything like its riveting title, it will be an epic eye-opener for many people. And I certainly hope so. As Ms. Newkirk points out, animals have for too long been treated as a means to an end, it’s high time we recognized them as thinking, feeling individuals.

  7. John January 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    It is hard to imagine a worse ambassador of your movie than Ms. Newkirk, who promotes the killing of animals in shelters – especially for pit bulls and feral cats – and oversees their killing in person at PETA’s VA headquarters. Very disappointing.