Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the spring of 2001, Jesse Power was an art student in Toronto who wanted to create a work that would comment upon the hypocrisy of people who express compassion for some animals but slaughter and eat others. With this in mind, Power and two friends, Matthew Kaczorowski and Anthony Wennekers, found a lost cat and videotaped themselves as they killed the animal. Power and his cohorts intended to cook the cat later, but before this could happen, one of his roommates found the animal's remains and called the police. Power, Kaczorowski, and Wennekers were promptly arrested on charges of animal cruelty and mischief, and their trial became a media circus, with animal-rights activists decrying their actions while art experts discussed the precedents of using slaughtered animals in works of art. As the case gained greater attention, more and more facts began to emerge -- Power was a former vegetarian, he claimed he worked in a slaughterhouse for a time to gain a better understanding of the suffering of animals, he had made a similar video in the past in which he beheaded a chicken, and Power and his assistants were under the influence of hallucinogens when they committed the act. Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat is a documentary which objectively examines all sides of this controversial story, while also offering a perspective on the agenda of all parties concerned. Incidentally, the word "Casuistry" describes specious logic that is used by individuals to explain or defend certain sorts of behavior; oddly enough, it directly precedes the word "cat" in many dictionaries.
animal-rights, arrest, cat, cruelty, killing, macabre, project [plan], torture