Not so long ago, I wrote a post about the ways in which Disney promotes animal rights, in general. However, in that post, I didn’t get a chance to include every movie, without making the post too long or too ‘preachy.’ So, this will just be a quick run-down of some Disney films that promote animal rights in some sort of way.
Finding Nemo/ Finding Dory
These two films are great for promoting animal rights, more so the sequel than the original.
In Finding Nemo, we hear great things from the shark meeting. Their motto, ‘I am a shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change my image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food,’ is just priceless.
Then, in the sequel, Finding Dory, the animal rights and animal welfare message is much less subtle. There is a strong ‘anti-SeaWorld’ and anti-animal captivity message. It shows that none of the animals are happy being trapped in ridiculously small cages or being stared and poked at. They want respect, just like we do.
The Little Mermaid/The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
On the topic of sea life (not sea food), Sebastian literally fights for his life from the chef in both films. He does not want to be eaten and he’s making sure he won’t be!
This classic film shows the harsh reality of the circus life, for animals. It’s cruel, unfair and unjust. Poor Dumbo is bullied, taken away from his mother, forced to jump from an incredibly high ladder. He was even forced to wear humiliating costumes and makeup. All of the circus animals were tortured and terrified.
Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast
The whole Tinkerbell movie series is quite underrated. They are all funny, hold an interesting narrative, have quirky characters and they’re cute. But this movie in particular has a strong ‘animal welfare’ narrative.
Fawn, an ‘animal fairy,’ has just found the Neverbeast that is supposed (by legend) to be extremely dangerous. Everyone, apart from Fawn’s friends, including Tinkerbell, want it ‘sorted.’ But, following her heart, Fawn decide to study the animal instead of handing him in, even when it meant risking her own life. And, she was right; the Neverbeast wasn’t anything to be feared. He was just misunderstood.
Pocahontas and Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World
In the first Pocahontas film, Pocahontas teaches John Smith to be more sincere, empathetic and compassionate to animals. In the song ‘Colours of the Wind,’ he points his gun to a bear, and she stops him. She proved that animals are friendly!
In the underrated sequel, Pocahontas goes to London to help settle things. While there, the King invites Pocahontas and John Rolfe (voiced by Billy Zane OMG!) and Ratcliffe arranges a show, involving a bear being tortured, or ‘baited.’ Pocahontas stops this and calls them out by saying, ‘your behaviour is savage. You and your people are the barbarians.’
During this film, Professor Porter and his daughter, Jane, travel to study gorillas. Clayton accompanies them as their security. However, Clayton wanted to kill, kidnap and sell all of the gorillas; he had no compassion for them at all. There’s a reason he’s the bad guy! Tarzan, Jane, Proffessor Porter and the animals don’t let him get away with it.
Everyone knows how sick Cruella DeVil is; wanting to kill innocent animals just for a coat! She does it just to look fashionable. Luckily, the animals know what’s up, and help before it’s too late!
In this visually stunning film, the wildlife was completely disrespected. Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter, leaving baby Bambi alone, petrified and confused. Then, near the end of the film, they set the forest on fire to lure the animals to a riverbank to become an easier target. It’s fair to say that this movie traumatized all of us, but at least we learnt a good lesson from it; don’t hunt!
The Fox and The Hound
Here’s another movie that probably traumatized us! The start of this movie is very intense. After Tod’s mother is shot by hunters, Tod becomes orphaned, and alone. But it’s not long until he’s taken into a loving home. However, Copper is raised to believe that he’s supposed to hunt. Naturally, these different upbringings would make their friendship difficult.
When O’Malley takes Dutchess and her kittens home, their owner keeps him as part of the family. She could have easily chucked him back out on the streets, but chose compassion instead. She also helps other alley cats, showing that animals who are homeless are just as important as those who do.
Pretty much every Disney Princess film shows compassion towards animals. Yes, some of them may eat animals (*looks at Moana and Merida), but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. After all, Moana did save a little chicken. All of them care and have animal sidekicks.
Throughout this film, Remy’s dad keeps reminding him of the harsh treatment rats get from humans. Even though his dad is just scared for him, Remy ignores him because he wants to follow his dream. Because of this, all of the rats receive love and care at the end of the movie. No one is ‘grossed out’ by rats anymore! How could anyone think rats are gross though? They’re so cute.
The remake of the Disney classic is quite spectacular and beautiful! One of the many things I love about it is how Cinderella actually follows her heart; she has courage and is kind. Basically what I aspire to be like! When Cinderella first meets the prince, he’s out hunting a stag. She stops him, and tells him, ‘just because it’s what’s done, it doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.’ What a beautiful quote! And that basically sums up all of the mistreatment of animals.
Obviously, there are so many more Disney films that help promote animal rights, but that’ll be saved for another time!
I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did, please feel free to follow or subscribe through email!