Film can be a powerful tool for change and there are some striking vegan documentaries out there that will educate and inspire even hardened meat-eaters. Here are some of the best vegan films to watch, from documentaries about the environmental impact of animal agriculture to the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and vegan movies about animal rights and speciesism.
Earthlings documentary Netflix
Watch: for free online here or Earthlings on Netflix
Earthlings is a difficult watch, featuring graphic footage from slaughterhouses and animal industries showing the brutal reality of how humans exploit animals for profit and gain. Narrated by vegan Joaquin Phoenix, Earthlings is free to watch online and features music by Moby. If you want to learn more about speciesism and how animal exploitation is ingrained in everyday life, from food and clothing to the pet industry, entertainment and scientific research, Earthlings is one of the best vegan documentaries to watch.
The Invisible Vegan
Watch on: Amazon Prime
Find out more about The invisible Vegan documentary
This black vegan documentary is must-watch in the Black Lives Matter era. It follows Jasmine Leyva, the co-director of this independent film, as she shares her journey as a black vegan. Along the way, she explores the history of African-American food culture and explains how she, along with other black vegans, are working to promote the positives of a plant-based diet. The Invisible Vegan is a relatively new vegan documentary, released in 2019, and features many voices including the young activist Genesis Butler, former NBA player John Salley and various black doctors, musicians and historians.
The Game Changers documentary Netflix
Watch on: Netflix and more
Find out more about The Game Changers
The Game Changers is the much-hyped vegan athlete movie that debunks myths about needing meat for protein and strength. Now one of the top vegan documentaries on Netflix, the film follows the story of Ultimate Fighter winner James Wilks as he researches the optimum diet for athletes. Along the way, he exposes myths about the meat industry and learns to thrive on a plant-based diet, interviewing athletes like ultrarunner Scott Jurek, eight-time US National Cycling Champion Morgan Mitchell and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Game Changers is a James Cameron vegan documentary, co-produced by Jackie Chan and Lewis Hamilton among others.
Others like this: Running for Good
Dominion documentary Netflix
Watch: for free online here
Dominion is the follow-up to Lucent, a documentary that highlighted the brutality of Australian pig farming. In the award-winning Dominion, filmmakers use drones and hidden and hand-held cameras to expose the realities of animal agriculture and how animals are abused and exploited in the meat, dairy, egg, entertainment and clothing industries. The footage highlights how brutal legal, industry-standard practices are around the world and questions why human should have dominion over animals. This is definitely one of those documentaries that will make you go vegan.
Others like this: Land of Hope and Glory
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
Watch: on Netflix
Find out more about the Cowspiracy vegan documentary
Cowspiracy confronts the environmental impact of eating meat and examines why mainstream environmental organisations are too scared to talk about it. Follow independent filmmaker Kip Andersen as he investigates the negative effects of animal agriculture on the environment, explaining how it’s the leading cause of climate change, deforestation, ocean dead zones, species extinction and more. All facts and evidence are clearly sourced and laid out, presenting a clear-cut case for how removing animal products from your diet is the best way to cut your carbon footprint.
Watch on: Amazon Prime and more
Find out more about Racing Extinction
Racing Extinction is one of the best vegan documentaries on Amazon Prime. Created by Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar-winning director of The Cove, Racing Extinction is all about the earth’s sixth mass extinction and how it’s been caused by humanity. The documentary uses covert and cutting-edge film techniques to shine a light on how the international wildlife trade and oil and gas companies are driving this mass extinction and loss of biodiversity.
Others like this: The End of Meat
What the Health
Watch on: Netflix, Vimeo
Find out more about What the Health
What the Health is the follow-up from Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn’s Cowspiracy. This time, they delve into the health issues linked to consuming animal products and investigate why the government and health organisations don’t want people to know about it. What the Health clearly states the benefits of a plant-based diet with interviews from leading doctors like Michael Klaper, Milton Mills and Neal Barnard. The film has become one of the most important vegan health documentaries.
Carnage: Swallowing the Past
Watch on: BBC iPlayer
This satirical mockumentary was made by British comedian and vegan Simon Amstell and released on the BBC. The film is set in 2067, an imagined utopia where all humans are vegan and meat, eggs and dairy have been outlawed. The vegan comedy documents the history of factory farming and the meat industry, as well as its fictional demise, while asking young people to forgive elders for their carnist pasts. Carnage is a unique vegan film that’ll make people questions their dietary choices.
Watch on: Netflix and more
Find out more about Blackfish
This powerful documentary took the world by storm and created real change for captive marine animals, sparking a boycott of SeaWorld. The film tells the story of SeaWorld’s orcas and trainers, including Tilikum, an abused whale that killed several people while in captivity. Since Blackfish was released, SeaWorld have lost shareholders and ended their orca breeding programme (under the passing of the Orca Protection Act) and discontinued their theatrical shows. Sadly, they still haven’t retired their remaining whales to the sea but the documentary has shifted public opinion about animals in captivity.
Watch on: Hulu, Amazon Prime
Find out more about Eating Animals
Based on the best-selling book of the same name written by Jonathan Safran, Eating Animals is a documentary that exposes the hideous truth about factory farming. The documentary is narrated by vegan actress Natalie Portman and details how animal farming destroys human health and the environment, featuring interviews with a number of whistle-blowers, farmers and activists. Some have criticised Eating Animals for not going far enough in demanding a total end to animal agriculture, but its message is still an illuminating one for non-vegans and vegans alike.
The Animal People
Watch on: Netflix, iTunes
Find out more about The Animal People
The Animal People, executively produced by Joaquin Phoenix, focuses on animal rights activism, telling the story of six activists and their fight against Huntingdon Life Sciences, the world’s largest animal-testing lab. Learn how The Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) organisation challenged the organisation through protests and campaigning and were subsequently targeted by the FBI, who used surveillance and wiretaps to attack the activists. Congress even rewrote laws to enable the first indictments of animal rights advocates for domestic terrorism.
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