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.
These are the best vegan documentaries to stream right now.
Every year, there’s a vegan documentary or two that absolutely shakes up the world. Enter SLAY, a feature length documentary following investigative filmmaker Rebecca Cappelli as she dives head first into fashion. This discovery pretty much unravels a dark side of the industry guilty of greenwashing, mislabeling, animal cruelty and cover ups from some of the world’s biggest luxury brands. At the crux of this one, SLAY poses the question: is it acceptable to kill animals for fashion? Watch it here.
We love a viral documentary and the biggest one of 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. 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. This is absolutely one of the best vegan documentaries out there.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
While it's not strictly a “vegan” documentary but this flick 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 WWF, it tells the story of life on our planet by the legend who has seen more of the natural world than any other person—David Attenborough. In this doco he explores 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
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. The Game Changers is one of the best vegan docos out there.
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.
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.
There are two seasons of Netflix’s doco-series Rotten for you to get stuck into. The show travels deep into the heart of the food supply chain to reveal unsavory truths and expose hidden forces that shape what we eat—and gives a good argument as to why we should all be considering a plant-based life. The latest season will cover popular treats like avocado, wine, bottled water, sugar, chocolate and edibles.
Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, Earthlings is one of the best vegan documentaries out there. Another tough—but essential—watch, the flick uses hidden-camera footage to show the exploitation of animals across five industries: pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research. Paired with music by Moby, keep the tissues close for this one.
The Milk System
If you’ve been considering going dairy-free or even just reducing your milk consumption this documentary will certainly help you on that journey. The film speaks with farmers, scientists and industry insiders to delve into the hidden costs and consequences of global dairy production (spoiler: it's not pretty) and offer up possible solutions.
Warning this one is a hard watch but it’s absolutely necessary. Using drones and hidden cameras, Dominion looks into the shocking animal cruelty that takes place in the food system. A host of celebrity names like Joaquin Phoenix, Kat Von D and Sia feature in the film talking about their plant-based journeys that will inspire you to make the leap.
The End Of Meat
Want to try meatless mondays or have been consciously thinking about your meat consumption? Then you’ll want to stream The End Of Meat immediately. Interviewing philosophers, scientists, artists and activists who provide their insight and opinion on the role of animals in society, the doco will also investigate what a post-meat world would mean for the environment.
Narrated by Natalie Portman, this documentary has been adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling book of the same name. Eating Animals explores the evolution of animal agriculture into the industrial process it has become today, looking at the environmental, economic, and public health issues tied to factory farming. If this doesn't encourage you to go vegan, nothing will.
Image Credit: SLAY Documentary