Ask someone why they decided to become vegan, and it’s likely they were initially inspired by a documentary about animal welfare, human health or the environment.
On the journey towards a plant-based lifestyle, films and documentaries can have a profound impact – providing you with valuable insights and new perspectives.
Here is a list of the ten films that we think could change your life today.
1. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
Cowspiracy is a groundbreaking feature-length film, which investigates why the world’s leading environmental organisations do not openly challenge the destructive animal agriculture industries.
Filmmaker Kip Andersen reveals how animal agriculture causes deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, mass extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean dead zones, and irresponsible water consumption.
Not only does Andersen highlight how factory farming is decimating the planet’s natural resources, he describes why this crisis has been largely ignored by major environmental groups. Industry whistleblowers and watchdogs have even warned Andersen about risks to his freedom and his life if he continues with this damning investigation.
What the Health is a second film from the creators of Cowspiracy. It describes collusion and corruption between governments, the medical sector and the pharmaceutical industry – which ultimately costs trillions of dollars in healthcare worldwide, and does not address what is making us sick.
What The Health explores why leading health organisations continue to promote meat and dairy, despite countless medical studies that show the detrimental impacts of these products on human health.
Throughout the documentary, filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn highlight the benefits of a plant-based diet for our bodies.
Narrated by award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix, this American documentary explores humankind’s dependence on – and relentless domination of – animals. It’s masterfully presented in five chapters: pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research.
Earthlings offers a comprehensive insight into the viciousness often shown by humankind. Using hidden camera footage and surveillance videos, the documentary offers an uncompromising account of the violence that animals experience across the world, every day. Earthlings promises to have a profound impact on anyone who cares for animals.
4. Food, Inc.
Released in 2008, this documentary had – and continues to have – a powerful impact across the globe. Filmmaker Robert Kenner investigates the manifold ways that animal agriculture is environmentally detrimental and abusive towards both animals and people.
Kenner exposes a highly mechanised underbelly hidden from consumers, explaining how America’s food supply is controlled by only a handful of corporations. All stages of the food production process are exposed by this documentary – including industrialised factory farms, the use of pesticides and chemicals, food labelling and dietary regulations.
With the aim of empowering viewers to lead healthier lives, Forks Over Knives provides greater insight into the way the world understands nutrition. Prominent experts in nutrition are called upon to explain the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet – in both preventing and reversing chronic disease.
Among them, T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, provides a comprehensive scientific evaluation of the health benefits of a whole food plant-based diet that is free from oil, refined sugars and other processed foods. This documentary is a must-watch for anyone questioning the benefits of removing animal products from their diet.
Maximum Tolerated Dose uncovers the horrific suffering that animals endure in laboratories. It follows the lives of scientists, technicians, and animals who have experienced laboratory testing first hand. This feature-length documentary is self-described as equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, as it features animals who have been on both sides of the cage.
Based on the best-selling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, this film powerfully evaluates the ethics of modern-day food consumption. Eating Animals illustrates the connection between our food choices, and the ethical values we stand for as individuals.
Narrated and co-produced by actress Natalie Portman, this documentary offers an eye-opening examination of the impact that factory farming has on the environment, economy, and public health. The film also traces the evolution of factory farming from small-scale, localised operations – to today’s ‘corporate Frankenstein.’
This 2016 feature-length film exposes the dark and insidious side of animal agriculture. Through the use of drones and hidden cameras, filmmakers explore ‘the morality and validity of our dominion over the animal kingdom’.
Dominion particularly focuses on the meat, dairy, egg, clothing and entertainment industries – uncovering how animals are exploited and abused by humans. The documentary also calls into question the legalised, industry-standard conditions that animals suffer across the world.
Lucent is an award-winning Australian documentary, depicting the sinister side of pig farming. The documentary is the result of a crowdfunding campaign initiated in 2013, and contains footage of over 50 farms and slaughterhouses across Australia. Filmmakers used hand-held and hidden cameras to bring viewers heartbreaking, never-before-seen footage.
This feature-length documentary explores the lives of four very different people – who are all vegan. It traces their personal journeys and is an uplifting film, spotlighting how everyday people continue to pursue their careers, hobbies, and personal lives whilst maintaining a vegan lifestyle.
Which of these documentaries had the greatest impact on your life? Do you have another favourite? Share your thoughts with us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.