Many people have heard of vegan documentaries…

But are either too scared to watch one, or have no idea where to start. How about you? Those of us who have watched documentaries found them vital in our vegan journey, allowing us to make an emotional connection to animals and the suffering we pay for them to go through, and take our health more seriously.

There’s no need to be apprehensive about watching them, I promise! Some think that all documentaries are scary, graphic and haunting. Some are. But there are also many documentaries that are non-violent or focused on health. The vegan documentary that will resonate with you, may be different from other people. For example, I love watching footage backed by credible research, and my husband absolutely refuses to watch anything graphic.

There are so many great documentaries out there – where should you start?

Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

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Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch?

Where to start really depends on why you’re interested in veganism in the first place. If you’re not yet vegan, but are concerned about animal welfare, you’ll need to watch a factual documentary, showing video footage of what goes on in the meat industry. If you’re already vegetarian, an expose on dairy or eggs would suit better so that you can get a good understanding of why vegans exclude them. For those wanting to improve their health, you’d be well-placed to see a film including research from qualified doctors regarding what a plant-based lifestyle can do for you.

If you’re already vegan, why is that? If it’s for the animals, try finding out more about the health benefits of a plant-based diet by watching a health-oriented documentary. If you’re the opposite (plant-based for health) try making that animal connection by finding out more about the industries. This will help to expand your knowledge, and advocate for veganism should anybody ask you questions.

Read on, where I detail my top vegan documentaries, what they’re about, and who should be watching them.

What The Health

Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

What is this vegan documentary about? 

What The Health is an expose on the corruption within the government, pharmaceutical companies, and other big businesses. Healthcare and medicine are very profitable, and they know it! You’ll find interviews with bosses of colluding organisations, objective scientific research, and first-hand interviews with people who have reduced and reversed illnesses through a plant-based diet. This doc was made by the creators of Cowspiracy, another vegan documentary (see below).

How long is it?

1 hour 32 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Anybody with an interest in health, or existing chronic illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and obesity. There are no graphic images in this film. I really enjoyed this documentary, although they do have a lot of information to fit into the time given. It is definitely worth expanding your knowledge afterwards and delving deeper into the topics covered. The What The Health website fully cites the research sources referred to in the documentary, as well as details of the health professionals interviewed.

Cowspiracy

What is this vegan documentary about? 

Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

Filmmaker Kip Anderson uncovers the most destructive industry destroying our planet – yep you guessed it, animal agriculture! Cowspiracy also explores why huge environmental organisations, charities and nonprofits are ignoring the issue. Animal ag causes deforestation, pollution, greenhouse gases, ocean dead zones, and more! Yet it goes unchallenged… why? Watch the film to find out.

How long is it?

1 hour 30 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Anyone who cares about the environment and the impact our diet can have on it. The filmmaker chats with leaders in the environmental movement, whistleblowers and watchdogs, all who have something interesting to say. The documentary has very few graphic images (a duck being killed and chopped fish – with plenty of advance warning) so is suitable for the squirmish.

Forks Over Knives

                                                            What is this vegan documentary about? 

Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

Forks Over Knives shows you how going plant-based can drastically improve your health, greatly reducing your chances of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. It follows the journey of a biochemical nutritionist and a surgeon, both who conducted separate research that led them to this very conclusion. It also follows regular folk trying to reduce their use of medication and gain their health back, through the use of a plant-based lifestyle.

How long is it?

1 hour 51 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Anybody with a vested interest in their own health and nutrition! If you take medication for chronic illnesses, are looking to raise a healthy family, or safeguard your health for the future, this is a must-watch. Forks Over Knives isn’t just a film, either. The website provides healthy recipes, meal plans and courses. They even have an app!

Earthlings

What is this vegan documentary about? 

Earthlings is an older documentary (2005) but still relevant today, and very talked about too. It gives great detail on humankind’s total dependence on animals for economic purposes, with hidden footage of the normal day-to-day practices

Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

within these exploitative industries.  The film is presented in five chapters (pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research), and is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

How long is it?

1 hour 36 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Anyone who wants a good round-up of how we use animals in many unacceptable ways. The film focuses on animal exploitation, so is ideal for anyone considering going vegan for this reason. It’s also useful for existing/new vegans to solidify their reasons for going vegan. Earthlings is one of the most graphic vegan documentaries out there, with a lot of violent, honest footage, so may not be for the faint hearted! However, it is a great, stark wake-up call for those who need it. Try to watch at least 10 minutes if you can.

Dominion

Which Vegan Documentary Should You WatchWhat is this vegan documentary about? 

Dominion is like a more up-to-date version of Earthlings.  It’s a detailed account of the ways animals are used and abused, exploring six points – Companion Animals, Wildlife, Scientific Research, Entertainment, Clothing and Food. Dominion questions the validity of our dominance over the animal kingdom. Unlike Earthlings, it makes use of technology such as aerial drones, to show the sheer scale on which animal agriculture is dominating our landscape. It’s really interesting to see zoomed-out landscape footage of how we use the earth.

How long is it?

2 hours.

Who should watch it?

Anyone who doesn’t quite believe what animal agriculture is doing to our planet. If you’re unsure about consuming meat and dairy, or don’t quite believe what vegans say, this is the documentary for you. The film contains graphic images of dead animals so may not be for the faint-hearted.

Blackfish Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

What is this vegan documentary about? 

Blackfish tells the story of captive whales at Seaworld, and features the trainers who participated in their suffering. It particularly focuses on Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. The documentary challenges us to think about how we use and treat animals, and how much we could learn from them… if only we tried.

How long is it?

1 hour 23 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Anyone who visits aquariums, sealife centres and marine-based tourist attractions abroad. It’s a good, thought-provoking documentary for non-vegans who haven’t even considered veganism or animal exploitation. This film is less focused on veganism, but raises many questions about how we use animals for our own enjoyment. It isn’t particularly graphic, but does show Orca attacks.

Land of Hope and Glory

What is this vegan documentary about? 

This film shows the hidden truth behind animal farming. It focuses on UK agriculture, unlike the other documentaries mentioned. Many British people watched Earthlings, but claimed that the violent practices didn’t happen in the UK – and that inspired the making of this documentary! It provides undercover footage and investigations at more than 100 UK animal facilities.

How long is it?

48 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Anybody living in the UK who thinks that our practices are humane, free-range or acceptable. It is ideal for those looking at going vegan and wanting to know what goes on as standard practice in the animal industries. This documentary is also FREE to watch, so you have nothing to lose! Although this film isn’t as graphic as Earthlings and Dominion, it does show violence and realities of what goes on at animal farms and slaughterhouses.

Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch

So what are you going to watch first?

I’d fully recommend anyone who is vegan, or interested in veganism, watch at least 2-3 documentaries. Try to pick one about the animal industry, and another regarding health. They can be real eye openers and spur you on to do further research! They are also much better than watching Facebook clips or stumbling across random footage. Often these snapshots can be taken out of context, not include details of where and when they were filmed, or the motive behind the poster on social media. The documentaries mentioned above are well-researched, based on facts and case studies, allowing you to go away and look further into the points.

Have you seen any of the above documentaries? I’d love to know what you think!

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