Get Vegucated with the Best Vegan Documentaries

Get Vegucated with the Best Vegan Documentaries

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Turning vegan has been considered to be one of the best decisions made by thousands of vegans across the world, but, if you go back even 10 years, this was a much more difficult choice to make. There were a few vegan restaurants opening up in the larger cities of the world but their reach was very limited. People in smaller cities and towns didn’t have access to quality, innovative vegan-friendly food, let alone other household items. And when it came to their family and friends having an open-mind about veganism – forget it!

Thankfully, things are changing. If you are vegan, you don’t have to worry too much about sourcing your food anymore. Your lifestyle can be extended beyond your diet to the clothes you wear, your footwear, and your household and personal care items – everything from your eyebrow pencils to your toothpaste.

The main reason why veganism is becoming more mainstream is the amount of awareness being spread about the subject. More people are becoming aware of the pain associated with the meat, dairy, egg and other industries and are choosing the life of animals over their suffering or death.

Films and documentaries are instrumental in this growth of awareness and in changing mindsets. If you are on the edge about becoming vegan, or have somebody in your life who wants to make this change, I have compiled a list of some of the best vegan documentaries made over the past decade.

The Best Vegan Documentaries

There are plenty of vegan documentaries made each year but some of them really leave a mark on the viewers. If you are struggling with options, this list will give you my top picks of the most recommended vegan documentaries.

Available through various platforms, and focusing on different aspects of veganism, there is something here for everyone.

To make things easier for you, I’ve separated the list into the following categories:

  • Going Vegan
  • Health
  • Animals
  • The Environment
  • Non-Graphic
  • Free Vegan Films
  • Inspiring Vegan Speeches

The Best Documentaries About Going Vegan

If you are considering going vegan, have recently switched to a plant-based lifestyle or want to help your family and friends understand your decisions, these two documentaries are great starting points.

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Vegucated

Director: Marisa Miller Wolfson
Run Time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Release Year: 2011
IMDb Rating: 7.2

Rent or Buy on Amazon

What Is the Film About?

This documentary revolves around three people – all from different backgrounds – as they are challenged to go vegan for six weeks. While the main reason that they sign up for this is weightloss, it slowly evolves into something more than that, as they learn the basics of veganism, the ethical aspects of making this choice and how it impacts their body. They get to see the underlying pain associated with the meat industry and find it almost impossible to get back to the lives that they were leading before this experiment.

Why Should You Watch It?

This documentary is a great place to start off if you are looking to understand why people go vegan. It gives you an uncomfortable look at the animal agriculture industry and its environmental and ethical repercussions, which can cause a change of heart for even some of the biggest meat consumers.


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Live and Let Live

Director: Marc Pierschel
Run Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Release Year: 2013
IMDb Rating: 7.6

Rent or Buy on Vimeo

What Is the Film About?

Imagine people who are closely related to the meat industry going vegan. It sounds unlikely but in this documentary, you will see the big changes that can take place in the world. The film revolves around 6 people – Jan and Karin, who went from dairy farmers to animal retirement home owners, Ria and Hendrik, who run a chicken sanctuary, Chef Aaron, who went from being a butcher to a vegan chef, and finally, Jack, a professional cyclist who realised that he could be even stronger with a plant-based diet. The documentary covers a wide range of topics, examining the ethical and environmental need for veganism.

Why Should You Watch It?

If you are new to the entire sphere of vegetarianism and veganism, this is a good starting point for you. The main reason behind this is that the documentary covers a number of essential topics from different angles. It is able to showcase why people turn vegan and how they are able to make an impact through their decision.


Health

With lifestyle diseases continuously on the rise, the western world’s typical diet is under fire. These two documentaries are my top picks for presenting the hard facts on health, and are hopefully the catalyst for change people need before enduring their own serious wake up call.

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What the Health

Director: Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn
Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Release Year: 2017
IMDb Rating: 7.7

Buy on Vimeo
Buy the DVD on Amazon

What Is the Film About?

This documentary was made by the same people who made Cowspiracy – another hard hitting film that is discussed below. The emphasis of this documentary, however, is the impact of animal-based food on the human body. The filmmakers interview a number of experts in the field – mostly doctors and researchers – to understand the type of damage animal-based food can cause to the human body, even leading to death. They also try to uncover the reason behind the deafening silence on such issues, even from major health organizations across the world.

Why Should You Watch It?

While there are tons of facts in this documentary – which make it highly informative – it is an enjoyable watch. The main reason behind this is the interviewers themselves, along with the methods of investigation employed by the creators.


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The Big FAT Lie

Director: Grant Dixon
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Release Year: 2018

Rent on Vimeo

What Is the Film About?

The primary target of this documentary is the New Zealand government’s overall health policy. It is based on the personal experience of the documentary producer and narrator Grant Dixon, who suffered a massive heart attack in 2010 – when he was just 58 years of age. The documentary opts for a humorous take on the popular health policies of governments but doesn’t dilute the essence of what it is trying to get across. It calls upon the government of New Zealand to amend its health policies so that more people can be informed that a number of lifestyle-related diseases, like obesity, diabetes and even heart diseases, can be prevented if they opt for a plant-based, vegan lifestyle.

Why Should You Watch It?

The documentary is based on what Dixon learnt from American physician Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and can be a major eye opener for people who claim that a balanced diet cannot be based on veganism. If you want some hard-hitting material packaged in a more palatable and humorous manner, this is a great documentary for you.


Animals

Can you really be an animal lover while you dig into a beef hamburger? Helping to educate those who are oblivious to, or perhaps selectively ignoring, animal cruelty, these two though-provoking documentaries will have you question whether you can continue to support organisations that profit from the suffering or death of animals.

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Speciesism: The Movie

Director: Mark Devries
Run Time: 1 hour 34 minutes
Release Year: 2013
IMDb Rating: 8.3

Rent or Buy on Vimeo
Buy the DVD on Amazon

What Is the Film About?

There is a reason why factory farms are located far away from most people’s line of sight. The director of this documentary tries to investigate such locations to uncover what is the reality of these facilities by interviewing owners, experts and even trying to fly over such farms to get a better look inside. The result is this thought-provoking documentary that makes you ask yourself some difficult questions.

Why Should You Watch It?

This film has had a big impact on people across the world as it looks to question some of the most common beliefs amongst human beings. Even if you have already turned vegan, it can help you expand your horizons even further.


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Blackfish

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Run Time: 83 minutes
Release Year: 2013
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rent or Buy on Amazon

What Is the Film About?

Blackfish covers the lives of several orca whales who have been forcibly removed from their natural environment and held in captivity at the SeaWorld amusement park. Most notoriously is Tilikum, an aggressive orca who took the lives of three people in separate instances while held captive.

Since there are no known deaths of humans caused by orca whales in the wild, the film explores the factors that may have driven these creatures to diverge from their natural mental state in such drastic and dark ways.

Why Should You Watch It?

Typically people think of animals used for traditional agriculture, or possibly exploited for laboratory testing, when they imagine animal cruelty. Presenting the case against keeping wild animals in captivity, this film uses shocking footage and emotional interviews with former SeaWorld staff, to have us question the greater impact of violence against animals. It serves as a reminder how we, as consumers, can make the choice to stop supporting organisations that exploit animals for profit.


The Environment

In a time of unprecedented weather extremes, climate change and its deniers, we should all be more aware of the facts when it comes to our choices and their impact on the planet.

Cowspiracy cover

Cowspiracy

Director: Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn
Run Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Release Year: 2014
IMDb Rating: 8.3

Buy direct

What Is the Film About?

An often-overlooked aspect of animal agriculture is the disastrous impact that it has on the environment. This documentary aims to expose this activity as one of the biggest propellers of climate change by presenting many shocking points. Other environmental challenges posed by animal agriculture include desertification and extinction of species, yet it does not get attacked by major environmental organizations like Greenpeace and Sierra Club in the way fossil fuels do. The co-directors question the basis on which this distinction is made.

Why Should You Watch It?

Many of us don’t realise how much of our carbon footprint is the result of our eating habits and not just the cars that we drive. If you are looking for a documentary that will explain the science behind the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry, this is the right choice for you.


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Food Choices

Director: Michal Siewierski
Run Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Release Year: 2016
IMDb Rating: 7.4

Rent or Buy on Amazon

What Is the Film About?

Award-winning filmmaker Michal Siewierski undertakes a three year journey to find the most sustainable, healthiest diet for humans, the planet we live on, and the other living beings we share it with. Dispelling many misconceptions we have about food and diet through interviews with world-renowned experts, the film looks at the long reaching impact our food choices have.

Why Should You Watch It?

Covering the environment and so much more, this film is a comprehensive wealth of information on the benefits of a plant-based diet. Enjoyable to watch, the film has high-quality production values alongside the inclusion of many well-respected doctors, athletes and researchers.


Non-Graphic Vegan Documentaries

Graphic footage isn’t for everyone, especially those who choose a compassionate lifestyle. And shock tactics can be off-putting for many, closing their minds further instead of considering the diet they are being presented with. That’s where my top non-graphic vegan documentaries come in. No graphic scenes, just experts and science to inform you.

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Forks Over Knives

Director: Lee Fulkerson
Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Release Year: 2011
IMDb Rating: 7.8

Rent or Buy Direct Buy the DVD on Amazon

What Is the Film About?

Forks Over Knives brings together some of the most respected health experts, including Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, to give you a better understanding into how plant-based diets are the way to go forward. Many of the featured experts were raised to believe that animal protein was an essential part of a person’s nutritional requirements. However, their views changed over time as more and more scientific data favouring veganism became available. The documentary relies on their expertise, along with some compelling case studies, to make the case for a whole food, plant-based diet.

Why Should You Watch It?

This documentary uses real life examples to emphasize that the fight isn’t just against animal-based food, but also foods that have been processed. For vegan newcomers, this film gives you all the basics without overpowering you with too much technical jargon.


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PLANEAT

Director: Shelley Lee Davies, Or Shlomi
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Release Year: 2010
IMDb Rating: 7.4

Rent or Buy Direct

What Is the Film About?

Based on the research carried out by T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn and Gidon Eshel, Planeat is one of the best educational vegan documentaries. It boasts of an excellent cast that includes many experts in the field, along with farmers and chefs who are making a difference in this area. It tracks how a greater amount of meat and dairy in people’s lives may be linked to the growth of cancer or the onset of heart diseases. Other than similar health issues, it also examines the environmental aspect of going on a plant-based diet, as carbon emissions are one of the biggest side effects of meat products.

Why Should You Watch It?

This documentary wasn’t made to scare you into turning vegan. Instead, it takes all the available information and puts it across in an informative way so that you are forced to ask yourself some tough questions. There are no graphic images, just extremely logical arguments that favor a plant-based diet.


Free Vegan Documentaries

Considering a vegan lifestyle but not ready to commit? Or rounding up a group of friends to reluctantly ‘see what all the fuss is about’? This section is for you! We’ve rounded up not two, but four, of the best free vegan documentaries to help you learn more!

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PlantPure Nation

Director: Nelson Campbell
Run Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Release Year: 2015
IMDb Rating: 7.6

Watch in full for FREE below!

What Is the Film About?

You have already acquainted yourself with Forks Over Knives in the sections above. PlantPure Nation is an extension of that documentary, as it continues to make a compelling case for the whole food, plant-based diet. After the efforts of the cast to push for a pilot program about the benefits of veganism do not come to fruition in the Kentucky legislature, they do not get discouraged and look for more ways to spread awareness. This includes a smaller project in North Carolina, where some people take on a 10-day vegan challenge. Their health is monitored before, during and after the challenge, producing unexpected results.

Why Should You Watch It?

Free can sometimes mean limited, but that’s not the case here. PlantPure Nation is a great documentary that will make you understand the many benefits associated with turning vegan by giving you scientifically backed reasons for making the change.


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Vegan: Everyday Stories

Director: Glenn Scott Lacey
Run Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Release Year: 2016
IMDb Rating: 8.1

Watch in full for FREE below!

What Is the Film About?

This documentary allows you to get an inside look into the lives of some people who share one aspect of their lives – their plant-based diet. It is based on the lives of four people. The first is an ultramarathon runner, who had his share of addictions in the past. The second is a lady, married to a cattle rancher, who went on to turn the ranch into a sanctuary for the animals she fell in love with. The last two people are a food truck owner and a young 8-year-old girl who want to spread the message of veganism across the world.

Why Should You Watch It?

Instead of giving you reasons to turn vegan, this documentary gives you an insight into the lives of different people who chose this path. There is no element of violence and the project just leaves you with a warm feeling on the inside. The documentary is also educational, and features a number of interviews with eminent people.


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Meat the Truth

Director: Karen Soeters, Gertjan Zwanikken
Run Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Release Year: 2007
IMDb Rating: 8.0

Watch in full for FREE below!

What Is the Film About?

Emphasising the link between climate change and animal agriculture, Meat the Truth questions why there are barely any mentions of agriculture when environmentalists carry out large-scale climate change discussions. The makers of this documentary try to understand if it’s due to fear of going against the world’s popularly held beliefs or whether it’s something more. They do not mince their words as they question even eminent personalities like Al Gore for not including the impact of animal agriculture on the environment in An Inconvenient Truth.

Why Should You Watch It?

This documentary deserves a watch because it helps you understand that no change is too small. If even one person decides to take a stand for the environment and for animals, he or she can make an impact and inspire another person to take similar steps. Meat the Truth gives importance to the small steps that lead to big change, which makes it an inspiring watch.


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Earthlings

Director: Shaun Monson
Run Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Release Year: 2005
IMDb Rating: 8.7

Watch on Vimeo

What Is the Film About?

A disclaimer before I move on – the visuals used in this documentary are very graphic and may be unsuitable for people who cannot handle such footage. Despite this, Earthlings has remained a powerful piece of art when it comes to veganism as it has the most long standing effect on people who are trying to understand the ethical side of turning vegan. The creators use hidden cameras to expose the harshest truth related to exploitation of animals across industries.

Why Should You Watch It?

If you aren’t vegan already, this documentary could be all that you need to make a change in your life. Earthlings gives a lecture in compassion without getting preachy about it.


Added Bonus: Inspiring Vegan Speeches

It’s nice to take a step back from all the science and expert opinions once in a while. To connect with people who are so passionate about veganism they fight for the cause with their all, and hope to motivate others in the process. Feel the conviction and be inspired with these great speeches.

Gary Yourofsky

The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear

Speaker: Gary Yourofsky
Run Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Release Year: 2010

Watch in full below.

What Is It About?

Almost a decade ago, animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky gave a speech at Georgia School of Technology, which ended up changing the lives of many people across the globe. Yourofsky is one of the stalwarts of contemporary veganism and this speech – which has garnered millions of views – leaves a massive impact on all people who watch it. The primary reasons behind that are Yourofsky’s years of experience as an activist – which have led him to be banned from entering some countries – and the robust manner in which he delivers his speech.

Why Should You Watch It?

This speech went viral on the internet because of the powerful message that it delivers, along with the convincing manner in which it was put forward. The strength of this speech cannot be put into words with great ease so it is recommended that you watch it yourself and feel it.


James Aspey

This Speech Is Your WAKE UP CALL!

Speaker: James Aspey
Run Time: 41 minutes
Release Year: 2016

Watch in full below.

What Is It About?

Australian animal rights activist James Aspey was shot into limelight after he decided that he would take a vow of silence for one year to raise his voice against the cruelty that animals are subjected to in this world. The vow of silence was of great inspiration, as he wanted to showcase what animals – who cannot speak – go through at the hands of humans. The speech covers his personal journey towards veganism, and how this change to his lifestyle has shaped the person he is today. Aspey lays great emphasis on compassion and understanding what others feel and incorporates this into his movement.

Why Should You Watch It?

If you don’t want to watch a full-length documentary but are interested in learning about the individual journey of a person who has done a lot of work to make a change in this world for animals, this speech can be a great point to start. Understanding another person’s journey can help you map yours more effectively.


There are many reasons why people decide to go vegan and there are documentaries that address them all. Whether you care deeply for the welfare of animals or the planet, or want to be more health conscious, the best vegan documentaries included in this list will arm you with the facts you need to make an educated change to your lifestyle.

What are your thoughts? Did any of your favourite documentaries not make the list? Let me know in the comments below.

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