Going vegan is a lifestyle change that many people are currently considering. Growing health information and awareness of standard practices inside the meat and dairy industry are pushing more and more of us towards a diet that doesn't include any animal byproducts. This doesn't mean that everyone has all the facts however. What if you want to change to a plant based lifestyle and don't know where to get more information on the subject however ? What are the best vegan documentaries and films out there to inform your decision?
If you've looked into vegan or vegetarian documentaries, you've most probably heard of Earthlings, a brutal film about the meat industry that has been nicknamed the 'vegan maker' by people who have seen it. For a while it seemed like this shocking film was the only choice for people looking for more information, but nowadays this is no longer the case.
If you don't want to jump into the deep end with such a extreme film, there are now many other type of documentary available that focus on veganism from the perspective of health, environmental impact, world hunger and animal rights. Here are our picks of some of the most interesting and informing vegan documentaries and videos available, that will give you all the fact you need on the subject, to make an informed decision on your own health and lifestyle choices.
Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and from director Shaun Monson, Earthlings is a 95 minute long look at the truth of what happens in the meat industry and behind closed doors at slaughterhouses.
Using the parallels of sexism, racism and speciesism, the documentary examines all industries that rely on animals to make a profit and questions the thinking that human life is worth more than any other species.
It's not an easy watch and many people claim that they fail to make it through the first half an hour, but if you want to get all the facts on where your food comes from, Earthlings will show them in full detail. Good luck.
2) Forks Over Knives
If you're more interested learning about the health benefits of veganism, Forks Over Knives is a great place to start. This 2011 documentary makes the argument for a while food, plant based diet as a way to combat and even reverse chronic diseases.
The documentary follows the careers of American physician Caldwell Esselstyn and professor of nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell, both of whom grew up on animal rearing farms, but now advocate fully plant based diet.
The film draws on historical data, as well as the two men's own personal studies, to show a perceived link between the Western diet of animal based and processed foods and many preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Watching this documentary will make you question if any of the nutritional facts you've ever been told are true at all.
3) Dairy Is Scary
This isn't so much a vegan documentary, as much as a short YouTube blog, but it is the reason for many new converts to veganism ad therefore earns a spot on our list.
YouTube vlogger Erin Janus takes you through the whole of the dairy industry and its standard practices in a short bitesize chunk. Her video is certainly not unbiased and she has no official qualifications in the field, however the facts she presents are 100 per cent backed up and presented clearly.
If you've felt for a while like the dairy industry doesn't quite add up, this video will speedily clear up any questions you have on day to day business and the reasons why we consume milk and cheese.
It's not just animal welfare and health that fuels people's desire to go vegan, one of the main reasons for vegan converts is the effects that animal farming has the planet.
More than any other industry, agricultural farming is adding to deforestation, global warming and more, on a massive scale. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret looks at the idea that our choice to eat meat is the primary source of environmental destruction.
The documentary claims that 51 per cent of all greenhouse gases are caused by animal agriculture with environmental organisations deliberately ignoring this fact. The film caused a public outcry o release and many still claim that it's facts are completely unfounded. Watch it and decide what you believe.
Released earlier this year, Carnage is a mocumentary from UK comedian Simon Amstel, about a future world where everyone is vegan. Following the format of a historical documentary, the program looks at a past where humans ate animals in much the same way that we look at primitive societies now.
While this is a fictional (and hilarious) look at a vegan world, Amstel manages to make some poignant points about our current views on the meat industry and our diet, while showing that a world without meat might possibly be the future we're heading towards.
6) What The Health
The new release from the makers of Conspiracy, What The Health acts as an update to the ideas presented over 15 years ago in Forks Over Knives.
Looking at the health impact of meat and dairy products consumption, the film questions the practices of the most mainstream health and pharmaceutical organisations, advocating a plant-based diet.
This film is currently at hotel top of Netflix's trending documentaries and causing many debates over in the US, with many people changing to veganism after viewing, yet many doctors claiming the films claims to be unfounded.
Could you go vegan? This is the simple question that this documentary asks, by taking a group of meat eaters and asking them to do exactly that for six weeks.
Through using the eyes of three skeptical meat eaters on screen ,the film allows the audience to explore their own reservations about giving up meat and dairy. The participants have their own health measured throughout the vegan challenge and go on a journey to discover where their food comes from during the six weeks.
8) Live At Let Live
Following six different vegans, the film looks at how completely different veganism can look for different people. From a butcher turned vegan chef, to a world class athlete who only eats plants, this documentary shows lifestyle that seem impossible from the outside.
If you like the idea of being vegan, but have always believed that its an unmanageable lifestyle, this film demonstrates how simply and positive cutting out meat and dairy can be.