Project Description

Cover for the film, Ghosts in Our Machine.

The Ghosts In Our Machine

2014 · Unrated · 1h 33m


With the exception of our companion animals and the wild and stray species within our urban environments, we experience animals daily only as the food, clothing, animal tested goods and entertainment we make of them. This moral dilemma is largely hidden from our view.

The Ghosts in Our Machine illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world. Through the heart and photographic lens of animal rights photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur, audiences become intimately familiar with a cast of non-human animals. From undercover investigations to joyful rescue missions, in North America and in Europe, each photograph and story is a window into global animal industries: Food, Fashion, Entertainment, and Research.

From undercover investigations to joyful rescue missions, in North America and in Europe, each photograph and story is a window into global animal industries: Food, Fashion, Entertainment, and Research. The Ghosts in Our Machine charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic that most of human-kind strives hard to avoid.

Are non-human animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights?

About the Filmmakers

The Ghosts in our Machine was produced by Syndicado and directed by Liz Marshall. Find out more about the film at


“I have been into animal rights for ages, so none of the material was really new to me, but I found this documentary special because it was about the animals, but it was also about Joan McArthur and her struggle to get her material presented to a world that does not seem to care. It was absolutely beautiful to see her difficulties and how she kept on trying. I think the individuals who are out in the field, face to face with the horrors of our world are the most heroic and brave. I know I would not be able to handle filming at a slaughterhouse. The part that I really was moved by was when she mentions “The hardest part is leaving them,” because I often feel the same way, driving by a very small dairy farm and seeing the veal calves. I try very hard to not be a preachy vegan, but I too feel the same hopelessness and frustration and horror that I know about all these crimes against animals and how impossible it is to get my fellow man to care. But it is possible to change minds – I am an example – so I hope she continues her work and never gives up. For all the ghosts. For those of you just getting interested in the animal rights movement, this is a good place to start – the graphic gore is minimal, and it is nicely counterbalanced with sanctuary footage. But keep a tissue handy.” – Christina Masaitis, Amazon

“This is a gorgeous movie, gripping and haunting. Shot with a compassionate eye, the animals’ personalities come through in every photograph, every moment of the film. Difficult scenes are balanced out with hopeful footage from a farm sanctuary, giving the movie a balanced feeling – despair with hope. I think this movie is as moving, powerful and important as Blackfish, a must see.” – Nicky, Amazon

“I like how this documentary shows the struggles that JoAnne MacArthur goes through to try to get publishing agencies to give exposure to her work. It is so nice that she gets to “see the good” at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY and take a break from all of the horrors that she sees and gets to see happy animals that are safe and loved.” – Katherine, Amazon

“This documentary is not as graphic as some of the ones of seen about animal welfare. I loved the fact they captured the personalities if these animals and showed how amazing they are as individuals. It’s a great documentary to watch. I think more of these need to be made and put out to the public. It’s what made me go vegan and hopefully more people will open their eyes to what is going on behind closed doors.” – Rachel, Amazon

“The documentary helped me connect personally with the animals in the film. It really helped tell the story and the plight of the billions of animals that we exploit and exposed the complex and contradictory relation we have with them.” – Sandeep, Amazon

Your Daily Vegan Review

“With Jo-Anne McArthur, award-winning animal rights photojournalist, and her graceful imagery as the protagonists, the film takes an unabashed, heartbreaking look at animals (or ‘ghosts’, in the context of the film) and their often unseen place in our high tech, highly mechanized world. The tragedy is the fate of the ghosts, save a lucky few who have been mercifully rescued from the machine and placed in loving havens for their remaining days. The terrifying irony is that while we live in a time of hyper-information, the volume of what is hidden from our view is growing by leaps and bounds. And what is hidden has a magnitude of consequence only rivaled by its own intolerable levels of cruelty.”

Continue to the full article >> Ghosts in Our Machine: For the Animals, I Weep


Cover for the film, Ghosts in Our Machine.

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