Review: Cowspiracy

We won’t succeed and save ecosystems until we stop animal agriculture

– Former Greenpeace director

Animal agriculture may be the most destructive force contributing to global climate change. But environmental organisations are being made to keep quiet. The meat and dairy industries, particularly in the US, are relying on the issue not making headlines. In Brazil, over 1100 activists have been murdered for speaking out against cattle ranching in the last 20 years. Those are the real facts, this is the real problem: so what are we talking about?

By Ernst Vikne (Cow portrait) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ernst Vikne (Cow portrait) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Cowspiracy (2014) is a feature-length docufilm laying down how animal agriculture is the (much understated) leading cause of global climate change. Co-director Kip Andersen begins describing how, inspired by Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, he became an obsessive compulsive environmentalist, cycling, taking shorted showers, and reducing food waste. But it wasn’t enough. When investigating the facts and the data he found that ultimately, changing our behaviour towards food could alter the planet. He realises then, that the truth was perhaps too inconvenient for Al Gore himself.

The only way to sustainably live on this planet is to eat a plant based vegan diet.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% greenhouse gases, occupies 45% of the land, and is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction (amongst a plethora of facts available in this brilliant infographic on the Cowspiracy website). Andersen interviews environmental authors and advocates, who contend the issue is not covered widely enough, beside a lack of campaigning from environmental organisations who fear for their fundraising, support, and reputations.

‘Meatless Mondays’ fails as it creates a false justification. You cannot be an environmentalist and eat animal based products. Its an addiction.

By LEAPTOUY (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By LEAPTOUY (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Demand for dairy based protein is increasing. With a growing middle class in developing countries, animal agriculture is simply unsustainable on a grand scale. Meanwhile, the human population drinks 5.3 billion gallons of water a day, in contrast to the 45 billion that farmed animals drink. Every human could be fed an adequate diet if the feed we fed animals was turned into food for humans. Yet, whilst some people attempt to simply reduce their meat intake, Andersen advocates this simply creates a false justification: in essence, you cannot be an environmentalist and eat animal based products.

Perhaps, through the similar success of Blackfish, Cowspiracy might raise a green movement off its back. But it needs your help: you can go vegan, tell your friends, or even host a screening.

This is about massively transforming how our society eats because it’s a necessity. We can do it, but we have to choose to do it.

Catch the trailer below: