It’s no secret that everyone loves to snuggle up and watch a good documentary from time to time. They are the perfect balance between informative and entertaining, and you can be satisfied with the knowledge you haven’t just wasted the last 2 hours of your life (yes Netflix, I”m looking at you). So, to herald in the weekend I’ve put together a countdown of my favourite documentaries that deal with the issue of veganism!
Whether you’re new to the game or a long term vegan, these acclaimed documentaries will be sure to satisfy your thirst for the truth. You ready? Let’s do this.
We’re starting the list with Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary that chronicles the life of Joe Cross, an Australian businessman who juiced his way back to health after years of illness and obesity. In the film we watch Joe roadtrip around America drinking nothing but juice and interviewing average American’s to collects their thoughts on health and whole foods. During his journey Joe meets Phil Staples, a morbidly obese and depressed truck driver who is eating his way to an early death. With Joe’s help, Phil joins him on a juice fast which sees him lose weight and turn his life around. Phil’s ability to turn his life around will leave you warm and fuzzy feelings and have you questioning your own dietary choices. It’s a pretty cruisey documentary and a nice place to start in our countdown!
I will say that the thing that annoys me about this documentary is that after his 60 day juice fast goes back to eating meat and animal products. Obviously, not an ideal situation. But to be honest at this stage of the vegan fight, I think we’re just happy if people to reduce their meat intake. Whilst complete elimination of all animal products from your diet remains our ultimate goal, we ain’t gonna to discourage any middle ground efforts.
9. FOOD, INC.
Food, Inc. is a powerful documentary that addresses the corporate farming world, and all of the issues that comes along with it. As a lone consumer, it becomes easy to believe we are powerless in the fight against mass food production and corporate greed. However, as this documentary illustrates, it is the exact opposite: we hold all the power. Every time you scan a barcode, you are voting for which companies you would like to see grow. Armed with this information, Food, Inc. exposes the truth of America’s corporate farms and provides insight into the broader picture of mass food production. This is a powerful documentary that is excellently demonstrates the ultimate power a vegan lifestyle yields.
Blackfish documents the story of Tilikum, a killer whale enslaved for entertainment purposes by SeaWorld. It chronicles his life from freedom to captivity, and looks at how enslaving these beautiful mammals in such confined spaces effects their behavioural patterns (Tilikum has been responsible for the death of 3 individuals since he has been in captivity).
Blackfish is a documentary that single handedly caused the SeaWorld’s profit to plummit to devastating lows. In the 8 months after it’s release, SeaWorld suffered (as they rightly should) a $15.9 million profit loss which they directly attribute to the documentary’s reception. Fortunately, SeaWorld’s profit has continued to decline and many major sponsors, including Southwest Airlines who had a 26 year relationship with SeaWorld, pulled their support of the company. Whilst it doesn’t directly address veganism, it does deal with the issue of animal enslavement for human gratification, which is a huge issue in our world. If this one leaves you feeling sorry for Tilikum and his imprisoned friends, maybe you should rethink that chicken salad you were planning for dinner. As they say, why love one but kill the other?
7. FOOD MATTERS
Although it doesn’t deal with issue of veganism explicitly, Food Matters tackles the notion that we really are what we eat, and our food and nutritional choices are as important now as they ever have been. Advocating a whole foods, plant based diet, Food Matters points the finger at the medical and pharmaceutical industries, accusing them of perpetuating sickness and disease in order to maximise profits. Whether you agree with their agenda or not, Food Matters is a sharp reminder that we all need to take our diet and health more seriously.
I watch this every year as a reminder to myself to be careful with the foods I consume. Food Matters takes you on a ride of information and conspiracy theories, which certainly makes for an interesting watch. Get around it guys, this is a good one.
Do you know what the leading cause to global warming is? What about water depletion? Deforestation? If you’ve read my ‘Why Vegan‘ post you’ll know the answer, but if not, I’ll give you a hint. The leading cause of all of them is the same, horrible industry.
Through a series of hard hitting interviews with some of the world’s leading environmental organisations and charities, Cowspiracy investigates why no one else seems to want to address the burning issue of how animal agriculture truly effects environmental degradation. The documentary is full of tension and suspense, and what starts off as a collection of innocent interviews quickly turns into a dramatic quest for the truth. Cowspiracy is the real deal; a necessary watch for anyone interested in seeing our earth last longer then a couple of hundred more years.
Vegucated isn’t widely known in the vegan community, but it should be. It chronicles the journey of 3 New Yorkers, who are self-confessed meat and cheese lovers. They each show a lot of resistance to the vegan and vegetarian communities and are straight up stereo-typical Americans. As a vegan watching this I was initially skeptical of it’s merits, but when the beat dropped shit got real quick.
“There’s no way that someone to talk around what we just saw, or explain it away.” -Brian after witnessing an active slaughterhouse.
It starts out by documenting the trials and tribulations of the 3 individuals’ trying a vegan diet for a 6 week experimental period. Yes, it’s very heartwarming. But then the heat is turned up and suddenly we’re all walking through the echoes of a old slaughterhouse, and trespassing on an active one. This is the moment it starts to hit the group, and you, that we’ve had things wrong all our lives. Vegucated is so capturing that, although you’re watching the film, you’ll feel like you’re in it.
Forks Over Knives brings together some of the most experienced and well educated Doctors in the world to deliver a mind-blowing feature film that expertly showcases the powerful effects of a plant-based, wholefood diet on the human body. It starts with severely sick, medicated and unhappy ‘average’ Americans and chronicles their journey to health and rehabilitation via a vegan diet. With a cast of as well respected as this (starring Ph.D. T. Colin Campbell of The China Study, M.D. John A. McDougall of The Starch Solution and M.D. Caldwell Esselstyn), you’re guaranteed a good show. A must watch for anyone curious as to what is the optimal human diet for health and vitality!
As good as it is to know the health consequences a vegan diets yields, it’s also important to understand, from a logical perspective, there are more reasons to go vegan then just saving the animals. James Wildman, the presenter of 101 Reasons To Go Vegan, presents the facts of the animal agriculture industry to you in a unbiased, logical form. For once, it’s not an angry vegan (yes Gary I’m looking at you) barking at you to stop hurting the animals, but rather, an intelligent speaker asking you why you would. It’s leaves you feeling indignant as a consumer, and rightly so! After all, as James points out, we have been lied to for the past 75 years.
Okay, confession, this isn’t technically a documentary, it’s actually a recorded presentation. But it’s well worth your time, and will still leave you with the familiar pang of shock that documentaries do.
Remember that angry vegan I was talking about? Well this is him. Gary Yourofsky has been named an international terrorist, banned from 5 countries, arrested 13 times, caused and has even been imprisoned for 77 days. Why? Because he’s a
beautiful and kind person animal activist. For over 10 years Gary toured America schools, delivering his presentation on Veganism 2,388 times to more than 60,000 people: this man knows his stuff. An excellent public speaker who shows true passion in every word he says, Gary’s knack for evoking compassion and understanding from his audience will leave you pondering how you ever ate meat in the first place. After a student recorded his speech and uploaded it to YouTube in 2010, it has been viewed over 2 million times and is today considered one of the best vegan lectures of all time. It covers everything you need to know about veganism from top to toe, and provides this information in an engaging manner. One of my favourite links to send people curious about a vegan lifestyle, it’s an absolute must watch.
Okay, this isn’t technically a documentary either, but it’s one of my favourite links to send people knew to the veganism. Buckle up guys, because this one is a game changer.
Earthlings will take everything you know about the world and crush it up in front of you. It is confronting, enlightening, horrifying and devastating. But it’s a necessary watch. It takes the audience through the methods in which we use, abuse and exploit animals for pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research. Earthlings doesn’t hold back, and is a graphic look inside our slaughterhouses and circuses.
In my opinion, this is the most important documentary ever made. I say this confidently, despite the fact I haven’t even watched it yet. Well, not completely. I have sat down to watch this twice. The first time I got 2 scenes past the intro and I was out, could not close that browser quick enough. Even though I was already a vegan by this time, so I knew I had nothing to feel guilty about, I still couldn’t stomach what I knew was coming. Round 2 of Paige vs. Earthlings lasted a little longer then Round 1 – this time I made it 30 minutes in and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then we started learning about the production and method of death for kosher animals and I lost it. Let’s just say, there were many tears, and it wasn’t pretty.
If you read that and just told yourself ‘there’s no way you’re watching this one’, ask yourself: Why am I not prepared to watch it, but I’m prepared to pay someone to do it for me?
So, there you have it, my Top 10 Vegan Documentaries for your weekend! Now over to you, what do you think? Do you agree with my list, or have I left some important one’s off it? Let me know below!