We’ve put together a list of the best vegan documentaries that will have even the most committed carnivore a little shook. Take the plunge into a plant-based perspective as this line-up of docos delves into everything from animal cruelty to the effect that consumption of animal products has on our health and the environment.
Whatever your stance, we guarantee that this list of compelling docos will have you wondering what’s at stake for the steak on your plate.
We love a viral documentary and the first one for 2021 is Seaspiracy. From the co-creator who brought you the groundbreaking documentary Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy is a follow up that reveals the relatively unknown truths about the widespread environmental destruction to our oceans caused by human behaviour. Filmmaker Ali Tabrizi initially set out to celebrate his love of the ocean, but instead found himself examining the harm that humans inflict upon the vulnerable seas and warning—it’s not pretty. From plastics and fishing gear polluting the waters to the irreparable damage of bottom trawling and by-catch, to illegal fishing and devastating hunting practices, humanity is wreaking havoc on marine life and, by extension, the entire planet. What Tabrizi ultimately uncovered not only challenges ideas of sustainable fishing but will shock anyone who cares about the wonders of ocean life, as well as the future of the planet and our place on it.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
It’s not strictly a “vegan” documentary but this Netflix doco will bring on a huge amount of environmental awareness in terms of what you eat and consume on the daily. Produced by award-winning wildlife filmmakers Silverback Films and global environmental organization WWF, this feature documentary tells the story of life on our planet by the legend who has seen more of the natural world than any other person. In more than 90 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world and this documentary shows its beauty and the biggest challenges facing life on our planet, one that will make you question the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the places you travel.
The Game Changers
If you’re keen to get around one of the most hyped documentaries of 2019, hit up The Game Changers. Directed by the Oscar award-winning Louie Psihoyos (who you know from The Cove), and produced by Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, this revolutionary new film delves into everything you need to know about meat, protein and strength. We won't say you'll be an avid plant-based eater by the end of this one, but by god, you'll never look at meat the same again.
This is the doco that all former meat eaters will tell you was the turning point for their commitment to a plant-based lifestyle. In an age where environmental awareness is key, this doco links animal agriculture with a plethora of ecological issues like climate change, water shortages and ocean dead zones. Cowspiracy presents a case for the impact that animal farming is having on the environment, and will have you thinking twice about digging into your next steak.
What The Health
What The Health is the vegan documentary that will have you asking what the F are big pharmaceuticals doing to us? The brains behind Cowspiracy are at it again with this heavy hitting, jaw-dropping flick. This time shining a spotlight on official health organisations and their reluctance to accept any negative health impacts of eating animal products. The underlying motive? The pharmaceutical industry is a cash cow and no one wants to cash out.
It’s graphic, but a real eye opener, shining the light on humanity’s treatment of animals. Earthlings is a little upsetting to watch but if you can put yourself through it, this vegan documentary exposes the full extent of suffering endured by animals at our hands in testing labs, puppy mills, pet stores and more. With the help of hidden cameras, this is the footage that the big industries don’t want you to see.
Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives documents the revolutionary health benefits that a plant-based lifestyle can have on your overall health, claiming to be able to eradicate and control diseases like diabetes and cancer. Essentially all diseases and conditions that plague and debilitate human-kind can be reversed or controlled by eliminating processed and animal-based products from our diet. This vegan documentary backs this claim up with doctors, scientists and real-life people that have seemingly transformed their lives with a vegan diet.
This vegan documentary titled Vegucated follows three real-life, meat munching, dairy-devouring people on a six-week challenge to go vegan. Initially lured by the promise of weight-loss and health improvement, the reformed meat-eaters soon learn that there is a wealth of underlying perils that animal agriculture has on our planet.
Live And Let Live
Live And Let Live looks into the first-hand experiences and opinions of the people who have made the decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle – all for very different reasons but all with positive consequences. From a former butcher and factory farmer who were directly involved in the agriculture industry (and have obviously seen some gruesome things that cannot be unseen) to a professional vegan athlete and animal activists.
The main message of this documentary doesn't preach the typical vegan agenda, instead, Blackfish revels with the complexities of holding animals captive. It does this through Tilikum, the orca (or killer whale) who has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. This vegan documentary shows shocking footage of interviews with trainers and explores the orca's extraordinary nature, her cruel treatment (like many others) in captivity and growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry.
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Image credit: Netflix