I know I am late to the party, but I recently watched the documentary Cowspiracy. This documentary was made from the same producers as What The Health, Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn. For a number of people I know that have become vegan, this documentary was the reason why. Cowspiracy focuses on the environmental effect of the animal agriculture industry. I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions on this powerful documentary!
I had no idea how much of an impact the animal agricultural industry had on the environment. One of the earliest facts mentioned in the documentary was that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. This is according to a study done by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2006 which you can find here.
Another fact mentioned in the documentary was that even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 gigatonnes CO2e limit by 2030, all from raising animals. Environmentalists like to focus on the destruction done by fossil fuels, but there is very little mention of animal agriculture. This is a troubling statistic because both fossil fuels and animal agriculture are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. 2030 is only 13 years away. This is a problem that is rapidly approaching.
The facts I found most surprising were the ones dealing with water consumption. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. It also takes 477 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of eggs and almost 900 gallons for 1 pound of cheese. In total, animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. That is by far the most water consumption by any industry, according to a study done by David Pimental.
You can find all of the facts and scientific studies referenced in Cowspiracy on their website.
When I first decided to go vegan, it was for health reasons. I didn’t really take into account the environmental effect of animal agriculture. Once I found about about these facts, it just further justified my reasoning for becoming vegan. In my opinion, after hearing these facts it is tough to justify eating meat.
It was also difficult to understand why these facts are not more widely known. we commonly hear about how SUVs are destroying the environment, but what about animal agriculture? Clearly, as mentioned in the documentary, there are certain industries and organizations that do not want the average consumer to find out about statistics like the one mentioned above.
The amount of water being consumed by animal agriculture is unbelievable. Trillions of gallons are being used every year in order to power animal agriculture. This makes everyday efforts to conserve water seem useless. The amount of water saved by turning off your water when you brush your teeth is wiped away by eating a hamburger. This is just another reason why going vegan is such an easy choice for me. I do not want to support an industry that is so wasteful when it comes to water and pumping greenhouse gases into the environment.
Similar to watching What the Health, Cowspiracy was an eye-opening documentary for me. The environmental effects caused by the animal agriculture industry are not sustainable and are very troubling for our future. Anderson and Kuhn and everyone else involved in the making of Cowspiracy did a wonderful job creating both an informative and entertaining experience for the viewer. I highly recommend watching this documentary if you have not yet seen it. It will give you a new perspective on the future of our planet and the benefits of going vegan!
You can find the Cowspiracy website here and watch it on Netflix.
Let me know below what you thought of Cowspiracy! What other documentaries do you recommend? Leave a comment below!