While discussing the clubbing of the baby harp seals, one recent movie immediately came to mind: Ric O'Barry's The Cove.
The Cove proved to be an influential movie upon its release in 2009, and uses many of the same tactics the anti-clubbing supporters use in their own film and propaganda.
The Cove, a documentary, comments on the massacre of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, a small whaling community, and conveys a message not unlike that of the baby seal videos seen in class.
O'Barry's work shows secretly documented footage (as it was illegal for the movie crew to film on site, so cameras were hidden) of the dolphin hunters and how the men would murder the dolphins. It evokes a similar image of the killings of the baby seals. Armed man versus defenseless creature.
In addition, the film stars Ric O'Barry--a man who has been around the block in the dolphin entertainment business a couple times. His celebrity influence, along with the appearance of various other celebrities, including Hayden Panettiere, help to sway the audience to see their side of the argument.
This brings up the question raised in class: "Can pictures be arguments?".
After watching The Cove, the answer is an astounding "yes".
The Cove, as a picture, plays on human emotions such as pity for the dolphins, as well as anger and hate towards the Japanese hunters. Although voiced arguments are stated, the one scene of the slaughter is enough to change any person's opinion. The gut-wrenching scene is so emotionally charged that it can, and reportedly has, brought people to tears.
The Cove, like many other anti-animal cruelty propaganda, features the cruel and uncut violence towards animals, and no matter how vile and disturbing the footage is, it makes an effective argument and lasting impact on viewers. It leaves an indelible scar on human memory, making sure that the brutal killings of the animals will not soon be forgotten.