“Disney movies have consistently touched on the concept of animal rights. They have almost invariably shunned humankind, highlighting our species as the destructive, selfish virus it collectively is.” – theveganshoclar.com
The more I watch Disney now that I’m older, I can understand more of the things they show. And I’ve realized that the majority of movies and characters actually promote animal rights. They encourage equality, respect for nature and emphasise love for the world and animals alike. Here are some ways in which the pixie dust filled movies do it.
Circus animals are victims forced to perform acts they don’t want to.
The film Dumbo shows a very emotional aspect of the circus. The eponymous character Dumbo was cruelly taken away from his mother, forced to wear humiliating costumes and makeup, and was forced to jump from an incredibly high ladder. Poor Dumbo was terrified. All of those circus animals were tortured and didn’t have a healthy or a happy life.
Wildlife should be respected and the animals shouldn’t be treated unfairly
Within the film Tarzan, Professor Porter and Jane wanted to study the gorillas. They took Clayton as security, who had a different approach, however. He wanted to kill, kidnap and sell the gorillas. Obviously, he was the bad guy.
Similarly, in Bambi, the wildlife wasn’t respected and the hunters were the bad guys again. In the scene that traumatized us all, Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter as she was looking for food. Little Bambi was left petrified and confused. The hunter’s then return near the end of the film, where they set the forest on fire to lure the animals to a riverbank so that they’re an easier target.
It’s safe to say; these films completely turned us against hunters.
Fur on clothing is cruel
Cruella de Vil is easily one of the worst villains ever. Killing a litter of puppies just to look ‘fashionable’ is just sick! Animals are not clothes!
Fish are friends, not food!
As Bruce from Finding Nemo says, ‘I am a shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, then I must first change myself; fish are friends, not food.’ Literally, this is one of my favourite replies whenever someone asks me if I still eat fish.
The Little Mermaid also supports this. Sebastian makes it clear that he doesn’t want to stay on that plate after literally fighting for his life.
These films make it clear that animals don’t want to live in a tank. In Finding Nemo, the dentist doesn’t keep his fish in a tank to be cruel – even though he did ‘fishnap’ Nemo – but none of the fish want to stay in that enclosure. Finding Dory also states this; ‘there are no walls in the ocean.’
Every life matters
The Fox and The Hound is another film that’s strongly against hunting. Tod, a baby fox, becomes orphaned after his mother is shot by hunters. Then Copper, the hound, is raised to believe that he is supposed to hunt. This film is so heartbreaking; if it wasn’t for the hunter, Tod’s mother wouldn’t have been murdered and Tod and Copper could have been friends. Best friends. He even kept his dogs tied up outside, the poor things!
The Aristocats also emphasises this – that alley cats are just as important as house cats. After O’Malley takes Duchess and her kittens home, their owner keeps him as part of the family. She also helps the other alley cats by starting a foundation to home all of them. She isn’t a ‘crazy cat lady,’ she’s compassionate.
Be nice to animals
Pretty much every Disney Princess film encourages you to love animals. Cinderella was friends with rats. Aurora and Snow White were friends with the woodland creatures. Pocahontas had a racoon and a bird. Rapunzel had a chameleon and even befriended a horse that kept trying to get Eugene arrested. Moana stopped some villagers from killing a chicken because he was… ‘different.’ They love animals unconditionally, which is such a positive thing to show.
Let’s be honest, all of the animals in Disney are so cute and fluffy and it makes you want to have the power to talk to them. Animals are well-respected in Disney and I really hope to see more films like these in future.