Cowspiracy: The film that launched a movement


The documentary Cowspiracy was released three years ago but it’s as startling as ever. What it does – really effectively – is highlight how unwilling government officials, scientists, and even environmentalists are to talk about the role of animal agriculture in climate change and environmental degradation.

The expose is just as relevant today. Even Al Gore, a vegan, claims not to have a position on factory farming, which is responsible for a significant percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention air and water pollution, and massive deforestation. Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of ocean dead zones, water pollution and species extinction. The implication here is that Gore, and other environmentalists, are concerned about taking a stand against factory farming and alienating their base. 

Cowspiracy features numerous interviews, graphics, and statistics, all to make the point that the meat industry of today is inherently unsustainable. A few of the stats are controversial but the film does a good job of explaining why it’s so hard to capture these stats in the first place. 

I really enjoyed watching this film, which is fast-paced and - unlike a lot of other documentaries, which can often feel like an extended panel of talking heads - has a strong story line driven by the sometimes manic presence of co-producer Kip Andersen.

What made it a call to action then and why it continues to attract attention now, is the way it shows up those very organizations set up to protect our planet, natural resources, people, and animals. By failing to call out factory farming for the harm it does they let us all down. The consequences, as this movie makes clear, are terrible.