I will admit, the muse that sparked this latest article was none other than my subscription to Netflix. I happened to be browsing my watch instantly options and was inundated with options for children’s movies, although it isn’t my particular genre of choice. As I am scrolling through all of these movies, I kept thinking to myself, “too sad” and “that one always makes me cry”.
What was I looking at, you ask?
The collection of Disney movies that are new to Netflix. Here I am, an adult, and I can’t bring myself to watch silly little kids movies because they are so sad and that got me thinking…. As we are watching these movies at a young age, do they have an impact on our choices as an adult? You always hear that violent games/movies are shaping our children, but is the opposite true? Looking back on some of my favorite childhood movies, I am horrified that more people haven’t realized how true some of these messages really are.
Paul McCartney, an avid animal welfare advocate and fellow vegan explains his loves of Disney films, “You could lose yourself in it, it’s a magical world, really. I just always loved that stuff as a kid.” McCartney also credits Disney films “Bambi” and “Lady and the Tramp” for teaching people the importance of animal welfare. McCartney says that it” taught us against cruelty to animals and made us sympathize so much with animals”. These movies “gave us a compassion” for animals. And that is completely true.
Below, you will find a list of movies that I have picked out because of the strong animal welfare theme that I got from them. By no means is it a complete list, and you don’t have to agree with every movie on there- but I want you to read through the list carefully. Look at the movies and think about you watching them and your kids/grand kids/nieces/nephews watching them. Ask yourself… Do movies help shape who we are as adults?
Some examples of Disney Movies that have a strong animal welfare theme:
- “Bambi”– Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter (and is later shot himself during a man-made fire)
- “Dumbo”–Dumbo’s mother is put into chains in the circus
- “101 Dalmations”– Cruella De Vil wants to kill the puppies and turn them into fur coats
- “Fox and the Hound”– Fox hunting and trapping
- “The Shaggy Dog”– The 2006 version is all about animal testing in the pharmaceutical world.
- “The Aristocats”– Touches on the stray animal problem, as well as overpopulation.
- “Finding Nemo”– Fish from the Ocean are put into a tiny aquarium and dream about escape.
- “AirBud” “Snow Buddies”– the puppies from these movies now show up in commercials that talk about adoption.
- “Homeward Bound”– Focuses highly on the feelings of animals and the dangers of them becoming lost
Here are a few other examples of movies that aren’t necessarily “Disney” or about animals:
- “Free Willy”– Strong message about wild animals belonging in the wild.
- “Wall-E”– Has a clear message about pollution and our everyday choices.
- “Paulie”– A bird escapes from an animal testing lab and finds a best friend in a human.
- “Babe”– Starts off with his mother being slaughtered.
- “The Lorax”– Speaking for the trees, this movie is about our environmental impact.
- “Chicken Run”– Focuses on a band of chickens that are intent on escaping their death on the farm.
- “Rio”– the last blue macaw plucked from his life in the wild.
- “Madagascar”– Animals in zoos wanting to escape back to the wild.
- “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest”– The magical inhabitants of a rainforest called FernGully fight to save their home that is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction
In these movies, we are giving a voice to the animals and showing our children that they do have feelings. We are teaching our children from a very young age that the choices we make can directly affect the lives of others. Of course, many who are opposed to the “AR” movement would find this idea to be brainwashing. Do you think the movies are teaching our children to feel compassion for animals? Do you think that they have any impact on our future? I feel that these are the movies that spark instant discussions with children. Watching alone won’t necessarily teach them, but the discussions that follow will. Thanks, in large part, to my Aunt Becky, who not only owned all of these movies but watched them with me constantly, I can look back and understand why I am the person that I am today.
What are your thoughts? Do these movies in anyway impact our choices as an adult? Or was it simply good writing on the part of the filmmakers?
If this article sparked your interest about teaching animal welfare to children, please be sure to click on this link and get a list of books that will help teach your child in an age appropriate manner.