A documentary by Curtis Johnson featuring Paul Watson, Jennifer Pryor, Moby, Bo Derek, and P.J. O’Rourke. Unrated. Plays Friday to Thursday, August 17 to 23, at the Vancity The title Your Mommy Kills Animals is taken from a controversial comic book put out by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. But the animal-rights activists featured here make PETA look like mere cat-kickers by comparison; in fact, the best-known advocacy group is accused of killing far more creatures than it rescues, earning it the description, from one salty observer (Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer), as “just another En-fucking-ron”.
Writer-director Curtis Johnson seems to view compassionately the young militants who make up the loose network of public speakers, protest organizers, and lab-animal liberators the U.S. government has labelled the number one domestic terrorist threat. One activist notes that the FBI doesn’t view anti-abortion zealots in quite the same light, but the right-makes-might argument certainly cuts both ways something pondered by commentators as varied as Christopher Hitchens, Margot Kidder, a couple of porn twins, and Greenpeace cofounder Paul Watson, whose tactics (especially with his whale-friendly See Shepherd outfit) have been copied and sometimes distorted by youngsters at times oblivious to long-range consequences, let alone the PR effect, on average Americans.
In this snappily edited, shockingly well balanced (and occasionally gruesome) overview, celebrities talk a little, but more space is given to the voices of Josh Harper and Kevin Kjonaas, arrested under the USA PATRIOT Act for doing little more than verbally advocating radical action to stop cruel animal testing. The boys are obnoxious in their moral certainty, but their insight into possible ramifications in the wider political arena brings up important points about where America is headed especially where threats to unchecked corporate dominion are concerned.
A visit to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina muddies the waters even further, as the Humane Society of the United States is revealed to have raked in money while pets and “enterprise animals” perished in the bungled aftereffects of the hurricane.
The picture is cannily billed with Zoo, a film about the consequences of loving animals too much.