Covering pet stores, puppy mills, and animal profession, Earthlings includes footage obtained through the use of hidden cameras to chronicle the day-to-day practices of some of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely on animals. It draws parallels between racism, sexism, and speciesism.
Joaquin Phoenix commented on the documentary, "Of all the films I have ever made, this is the one that gets people talking the most. For every one person who sees Earthlings, they will tell three." Philosopher Tom Regan remarked, "For those who watchEarthlings, the world will never be the same.
In 2005, Earthlings premiered at the Artivist Film Festival, (where it won Best Documentary Feature), followed by the Boston International Film Festival, (where it won the Best Content Award), and at the San Diego Film Festival, (where it won Best Documentary Film, as well as the Humanitarian Award to Phoenix for his work on the film).