“Ten thousand years ago free-living animals made up 99% of the biomass – and human beings, we only made up 1% of the biomass. Today, only ten thousand years later (which is really just a fraction of time), we human beings and the animals that we own as property make up 98% of the biomass and wild, free-living animals make up only 2%. We’ve basically stolen the world, the Earth from free-living animals to use for ourselves, and our cows and pigs and chickens and factory farmed fish – and the oceans have been even more devastated.” – Dr Will Tuttle
Despite it’s tongue-in-cheek title, Cowspiracy is the most harrowing documentary I’ve seen for a long while. The film makers claim that the animal agriculture industry is the leading cause of global warming and yet many well loved environmental organisations wish to address it. Cowspiracy also claims that the industry is the leading cause of water depletion, deforestation, species extinction and ocean dead zones. Couple all those factors with the vast amount of food needed to feed livestock (instead of going straight to the mouths of hungry humans) along with the pollution caused via vast amounts of excrement plus animal and meat distribution, and by the end of the film it seems almost common sense and completely baffling that so many of us would have been blind to it in the first place.
Cowspiracy doesn’t come across as preachy or condescending to even the most defensive meat eater, yet it remains engaging and simple to follow with infographic after infographic.
With a healthy mixture of graphic design, covert operations and fascinating interviews, Cowpiracy remains at a steady pace throughout. As well as focussing on the internal moral dilemmas of film maker and narrator Kip Anderson and covering any issues the audience may have with the argument that the case against animal agriculture is as bad as it sounds, the documentary also shines outwardly on the environmental organisations who are failing to address the single most destructive force facing the planet today and the impact it will have on our future.
Not many documentaries have made me want to laugh, cry, feel negative, feel positive and experience complete revelation all in the space of 85 minutes. I recommend this film for anyone that eats meat and anyone who doesn’t because simply being aware of what is happening to us and our planet is the only thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We may as well use that talent to the best of our ability no matter what the result of our actions may be.