Cowspiracy

Documentarian Kip Andersen takes on not just animal agriculture but the environmental charities which are happy to give it a free pass in the debate over how we can reduce our impact on the environment.

Andersen is mostly happy to let the facts speak for themselves. Statistics this shocking are hard to argue with, and he deploys them with a disarming ease which never fails to make his victims squirm. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transport combined. A beef burger uses the equivalent water of 2 months of showers. An omnivorous diet uses 18 times more land than a plant-based one. 91% of Amazon rainforest destruction is for animal agriculture.

It’s thoroughly researched, and the commitment to the cause is evident in its supporting website which allows you to review the evidence for yourself. Yet when presenting the facts to environmental charity chiefs Andersen is met with a deafening silence. A climate change documentary which takes on environmental groups could be counter-productive, but they are not the only people to come under scrutiny. He meets with dairy farmers, including the owners of a self-described sustainable dairy farm who aren’t aware their livestock has any carbon footprint at all.

He also touches on other ways in which our love of eating flesh is destroying the planet, including poultry, fishing and backyard duck farming – we’re currently on track for fishless oceans by 2050. Made in 2014, its great to see that environmental groups got the message, at least in part, with websites now referencing animal agriculture as a cause of climate change, even if it still doesn’t have the prominence it needs. So while animal agriculture remains a huge problem, at least the cowspiracy around it may be coming to an end.

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