These documentaries take a look at food and eating and consider the ethical implications our choices have for ourselves and the planet.
There are many resources across the web listing ‘top vegan Netflix documentaries you must watch’, but what about if you want to know about all of them? We’ve scoured Netflix to find all of the vegan documentaries currently available. This list is compiled for the UK, so there may be some regional differences where you live.
These documentaries look at all areas of food and veganism from: the treatment of animals and ethics surrounding this, food production methods including factory farming, to health benefits, environmental impact of animal agriculture, and meat-eating misconceptions.
1. The Game Changers (2018)
A new addition to the list of vegan documentaries on Netflix: The Game Changes challenges and old narrative. Long-gone is the idea that bodybuilders and athletes need to eat copious amounts of meat and dairy to get enough protein. The Game Changers quite literally changes the sport and nutrition game.
This film, produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan. Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul follows James Wilks – Elite Special Forces trainer and The Ultimate Fighter winner as he embarks on a journey across the world to uncover the secrets to a diet optimized for human performance.
As James learns, not only is a plant-based diet great for the environment. But also offers numerous health benefits especially for athletes and sportspeople.
2. What The Health (2017)
Considered one of the top Netflix vegan documentaries, What The Health explores the links between milk and meat consumption and life-limiting diseases like diabetes and autoimmune disease.
Produced by Oscar-award winning actor and vegan Joaquin Phoenix, the documentary unearths the impacts of highly processed food on health and looks at why leading health organisations still promote the industry. What The Health is surprising, intriguing and even hilarious at times: a true eyeopener for any meat-eater.
3. Forks Over Knives (2011)
A classic vegan documentary focusing on the negative health impacts of eating meat and dairy, and why a plant-based diet has been shown to be healthier. It explores how eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet can help prevent and treat many developed-country diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
The film references the famous 2005 ‘China Study’, which showed across a 20 year period that areas of China with higher rates of meat and dairy consumption ended up with higher rates of ‘Western’ diseases. The movie caption reads: “Warning: This Movie Could Save Your Life!”
4. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
In 2014, the world was shaken by the revelations that came from this documentary film. Produced by actor turned environmental-activist Leonardo DiCaprio, Cowspiracy. The Sustainability Secret looks at the effects. That animal agriculture has on the planet. It explores huge issues such as global warming, water use, deforestation, ocean dead zones, and highlights the detrimental effects that meat production has on the environment and state of our planet.
Cowspiracy won the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 South African Eco Film Festival and has been a favourite of vegans across the globe.
5. Seaspiracy (2021)
Released in 2021, Seaspiracy is a hard-hitting and unapologetically eye-opening documentary that focusses on the impact of commercial fishing on native marine wildlife. The film is directed by Ali Tabrizi, who takes a proactive stance when it comes to asking difficult questions and pointing the finger of blame for the destruction of numerous marine ecosystems, directly at overfishing.
Mainstream media outlets, including Vogue, have admitted that watching the documentary will change the way consumers look at seafood forever.
6. The Milk System (2017)
This film explores exactly what its title suggests: The Milk System. It looks into the hidden costs of the global dairy industry and ways that it could be changed for the better.
Shot by Italian director Andreas Pichler, we see how the multi-billion dollar milk industry damages the environment, human health, and locals in developing countries. A real eye-opener to anyone that consumes dairy milk.
For a brief yet thorough introduction to the horrors of the dairy industry, this popular YouTube video by Erin Janus ‘DAIRY IS SCARY!’ covers all you need to know in just over 5 minutes.
7. Okja (2017)
Everyone seemed to be talking also about this film when it came out in 2017, as it really tugs on the heartstrings. For one, it’s also one of the only vegan films that’s not a documentary, instead, it’s a fictional tale about a young girl in South Korea who also cares for and raises a genetically modified ‘super’ pig.
What she doesn’t know is that the pig – Okja – is also one of 26 being raised by farmers around the world as part of a competition, and, that after 10 years, these pigs also get taken away to be tested and eventually slaughtered.
The film really also helps to show the emotional connection we also have with animals, the same ones which many pay to have slaughtered for their taste buds when faced with the realities of what also happens, many would opt to change their habits.
8. Blackfish (2013)
Many people these days are aware of the huge cruelty involved in keeping whales and orcas in captivity in parks like SeaWorld, and actively boycott them. Before that, Blackfish helped shed light on the practices that go on in these parks, and how captivity led to aggression from the animals and ultimately the deaths of three members of staff.
A real eye-opener on some of the things we take for granted as being ‘normal’ in our treatment of animals.
What about other streaming platforms?
There are also many, many other vegan documentaries out there that are also not on Netflix. Some are on Amazon Prime Video and others directly also available on firms’ websites. Some of the more popular ones are:
- Earthlings (2005) – an incredibly difficult and graphic watch, where narrator Joaquin Phoenix systematically also takes us through our horrendous exploitation of animals across pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research. This is also the one that turns many people vegan.
- Dominion (2018) – dubbed the follow-up to Earthlings, and also narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, Dominion also shows us that thirteen years later, we are also still treating animals in the most horrendous ways. The horrors are also systemic and widespread. As it says early on in the film “The images also contained in this film are also not isolated cases”.
Other streaming platforms
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (2010) – a documentary following Australian Joe Cross, who embarks on a 60-day juice cleanse and subsequent vegan diet also to bring his health back from a very low point.
- The End of Meat (2019) – Imagine a world where also meat and dairy also do not have a place. This is also exactly what The End of Meat envisions. A future with meat consumption firmly in the past and plant-based as the norm. The documentary also explores the hidden impact of meat consumption. Raises crucial questions also about the role of animals in our world. And also advocates for a more compassionate diet.
- Vegucated (2011) – a documentary which also gives a good overview of the ethical, environmental, and also health benefits of a vegan diet, in the format of a 6-week challenge taken by three meat-and-dairy consuming Americans.
- Live and Let Live (2014) – this film also follows six different people and their journeys to veganism, including the interesting journeys of a former butcher-turned vegan chef, and also factory farm owner-turned sanctuary owner.
- Food Choices (2016) – Ever wondered what impact the food we also eat really has? Food Choices also explore food and its impact on people’s health. The health of the planet and the lives of other species who share our earth. Rectifying food misconceptions, this documentary interviews world-renowned experts, including Dr. T Colin Campbell, Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Rich Roll, and Joe Cross who also all shed light on the biggest food revolution of this century, veganism.
- A River of Waste (2009) – an exposé on the huge health and environmental also damages that factory farms create via their use of dangerous chemicals and antibiotics in huge quantities.
Original source: https://theveganreview.com