One of the things I am often asked when discussing my choice to become a vegan is, “Oh no, but how do you watch all of those horrific documentaries about the animals being killed and stuff?”
Well, to be quite honest, a lot of times I can’t even get halfway through some of the documentaries that are out there. However, if you are considering changing your diet, it is important to expose yourself as much as possible to these documentaries.
These documentaries, no matter how gruesome, were a key factor in my personal decision to go vegetarian and then eventually vegan.
Although many of the videos out there about vegetarianism and veganism definitely go for the jugular when it comes to viewers’ emotions, there are some that use different approaches when it comes to convincing people to give up animal products.
You really just have to pick and choose what you want to expose yourself to, however I suggest exposing yourself to the absolute truth.
I am going to suggest a few documentaries that are very informative on how animals are used for food in this country.
There will be some documentaries that are violent and definitely will make you want to cry. However, it is important to see these things because it will really make you think about where your food is coming from.
Why sugarcoat something that is a very real occurrence today in America?
If you are thinking about veganism primarily from an ethical perspective, then “Earthlings” is for you.
Over footage captured by hidden cameras in factory farms, Joaquin Phoenix narrates this shocking documentary showing the horrific treatment of animals, both the “necessary” procedures and the downright cruelty of the bored, sociopathatic people that are working in these factories. This particular documentary is available on YouTube for free, so you have no reason not to watch this.
If you are more focused on the health benefits of veganism, then “Forks Over Knives” is a great option.
Available on Netflix, this 2011 documentary tests and proves the idea that diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes can be kept at bay by ditching animal products in the diet. This documentary uses the testimonies of many doctors who worked on a 20 year study called “The China Study,” which showed that a vegan diet is the healthiest diet one can follow.
And finally, if environmental issues and sustainability are your thing, “Cowspiracy” is definitely the way to go.
This documentary essentially reveals that you simply cannot be sustainable without giving up meat and other animal products. This documentary reveals the tremendously damaging effects that animal agriculture has on our planet, not to mention the enormous amount of waste that is generated from these “farms.”
Although any documentary that will open your eyes to the true world of animal agriculture is a good one, the titles listed above are among the best. They reveal the true conditions behind the meat, dairy and egg industries while providing just the right amount of shock value.
Regarding the shock value of some of these documentaries, I encourage you to do your own research before delving into one of these films.
Although the documentaries I have recommended are highly factual, there are some out there that manipulate facts in order to appeal to the viewer’s emotions more, though the majority of them don’t do this.
If you have seen some of these movies already, there are tons of lists out there that show which animal documentaries are worth seeing and what the target audience is, whether it be animal lovers, environmentalists or people concerned about their nutrition.
I hope you take the time to watch these documentaries and I truly hope it inspires a change in your diet.
If any of these movies convince you to make even the simplest change in your diet, I will have done my job.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Jeremy Bentham, an 18th century English philosopher and proponent of animal rights.
“The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer?”
Lippy, a sophomore nutrition and foods major from Huntersville, is a columnist.