Jo Anne McArthur: Giving Animals A Voice Through Visuals

By Chere Di Boscio

It’s a sad fact that no matter where you go, there seems to be animal exploitation on an incredible scale. From circuses, bullfights and elephant rides to fur, food and medical farms, animals live in a hellish world dominated by humans and the only beasts who are truly free are those living in ever-shrinking areas of wilderness.

This is something that award-winning photojournalist and author Jo-Anne McArthur documented for years and is now displaying with her  We Animals Archive, a free-to-use resource featuring thousands of stunning high resolution photographs of animals, including hundreds of previously unseen images. As part of her We Animals project, McArthur has spent the last fifteen years taking photos in over 50 countries and is allowing free access to her images in order to help raise awareness of the plight of animals exploited in different industries and contexts  around the world.

A strong supporter of animal rights for most of her life, McArthur was the focus of the acclaimed documentary The Ghosts in our Machine, and is the author of We Animals. Her second book, Captive, will be released in summer 2017. Her powerful images have been exhibited around the globe from Helsinki to Sydney. National Geographic, The Guardian and many other media outlets have featured her work. No wonder she has been honored with various accolades from organisations such as Huffington Post, CBC and numerous animal protection organizations.

“I’m thrilled to be releasing the We Animals Archive into the world,” says McArthur. “My work has shown me that, so often, the animals languishing in cages on fur farms, suffering at the end of a rope, or even resting peacefully in the arms of their rescuers, are invisible to so many of us. I want these images to be used in the hope that people truly see the way animals currently exist in our society.”

Animals may not be able to speak, but McArthur’s goal is to create photographs that communicate on their behalf – and she has achieved that beautifully.

The We Animals Archive is often difficult to look at, and is sometimes joyful, too. But it’s always a testament to McArthur’s dedication to showing the plight of animals in a way that few photographers ever have before. The archive is packed with thousands of frank images and videos of animals being  used for food, clothing, research, work, entertainment, as well as animals rescued from those industries, living their new lives in sanctuaries, refuges, and as beloved companions. Hopefully, it will make those of us who haven’t adopted a vegan lifestyle yet to be more conscious of how our consumption of food, clothing, medicine and entertainment impacts other intelligent, sentient creatures.

For those with compassion, it can be overwhelming to see such exploitation. We recommend living a fully vegan lifestyle as the first step towards ending the suffering of animals, and then if you’d like to donate to a charity, we personally recommend the Sheldrick Trust (for elephants), the Born Free Foundation  or McArthur’s favourite, Animal Equality.

For more information, please click here.

Penguin enclosure at Sea World

Dog used for animal testing

Asiatic moon bear at a roadside zoo, Vietnam

Dolphin enclosure

Describing dairy farming

Fox farm

Monkey farm

Greyhound racing

Lion in a zoo enclosure

Chimp in a zoo

Puppies in a puppy mill cage

British fox hunters

Hunted moose

Beluga whale enclosure, Marineland

Calf  on a farm

Picture credits
1 – Macaque at a roadside zoo, Vietnam 2 – Tiger cub in a zoo, Laos 3 – Sheep being herded in a parade on opening day of the Calgary Stampede, Canada 4 – Capuchin used for entertainment, USA 5 – A bull being dragged to slaughter after the bullfight, Spain 6 – Fish for sale, Vietnam 7 – Penguin enclosure at Sea World,  USA 8 – Dog being used for animal testing,  USA 9 – Asiatic moon bear at a roadside zoo, Vietnam 10 – Dolphin enclosure, USA 11 – Dairy farming, Canada 12 -Fox farm, Canada Photo credit: jointly Jo-Anne McArthur / #makefurhistory 13 – Macaque monkey at a breeding farm, Laos
Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals for Maximum Tolerated Dose 14 – Greyhound racing, Australia 15 – Lion in a zoo enclosure, Germany Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Born Free Foundation 16 – Chimpanzee in a zoo, Cuba. 17 – Dogs in a puppy mill, Canada Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / Montreal SPCA 18 – Fox hunters, England 19 – Hunted moose, Canada 20 – Beluga whale enclosure at Marineland, Canada 21 – Calf at a farm, Sweden Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Djurrattsalliansen.
Chere Di Boscio
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2 thoughts on “Jo Anne McArthur: Giving Animals A Voice Through Visuals”

  1. Very inspiring article!

    Indeed, a picture can say a thousand words. I hope that people who are reading or seeing this images will give them sympathy for the animals around us. Yes, they can not express their feelings through words but it doesn’t mean that they are fine. I hope people will treat them as humans too. 🙂

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