9 Documentaries That Could Turn Anyone Vegan

Recently there have been more and more films and documentaries that focus on the environment, animal rights and veganism. This is fantastic because documentaries and films have such strong impressions on people that they can really drive change, so make sure you share them with friends and family for maximum impact.

This post will list some of the most effective and popular films and documentaries so you don’t end up scrolling through Netflix for hours on end unable to decide what to watch. I will try to add both the popular films for people who are completely new to these ideas, and some more obscure but interesting pieces for existing environmentalists that are looking for more. As usual I won’t list them in any particular order:

Image credit goes to Cowspiracy.com

One of the most well known documentaries about the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, this film, directed and produced by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, is charged with facts and logic that people have a very hard time arguing against. Leonardo DiCaprio became executive producer for a new cut version released to Netflix in 2015, and since its creation it has become something of a symbol for vegans around the world.

The good thing about this documentary is the way in which it lays out all the facts in an easy to understand and thought provoking way (even though the figures are astounding). It focuses on the environmental impact of animal agriculture, but doesn’t ignore the ethical and health factors, and doesn’t rely on shocking or horrific imagery so it can be watched by anyone.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit cowspiracy.com for more information.

Image credit goes to peaceablekingdomfilm.org

This is an award winning documentary that tells the story of several traditional farmers who re-examine their relationships with animals. In doing so, their consciences show them that the only way to live is by going vegan. After realising their mistakes they set up sanctuaries for farm animals, it’s a truly touching story.

There is a newer version title, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home  created by the same producer (James LaVeck) and director (Jenny Stein) in 2009 with a different star cast.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit peaceablekingdomfilm.org for more information.

Image credit goes to letlivefilm.com

A wonderful documentary directed by Marc Pierschel that explores the ethical, environmental and health reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle. Six different individuals are interviewed about their vow to remain vegan for life including a vegan chef who used to be a butcher, and a farm sanctuary owner who used to be a factory farmer.

‘Live and Let Live’ shows how veganism has evolved from its origins in 1944 London to one of the fastest growing movements worldwide, with increasing numbers of people realising what’s on their plates matters to animals, the environment and ultimately themselves.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit letlivefilm.com for more information.

Image credit goes to forksoverknives.com

‘Forks Over Knives’ is a documentary that focuses on the health aspect of modern diets; the damage caused by animal products and the benefits of plant-based diets. Solid correlations are made between animal products and degenerative diseases that are so problematic (especially in the west) today, all of which is presented and backed by strong scientific and medical evidence.

The major story line in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. The filmmakers also document several real patients suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and reveal how plant based diets help them to recover.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit forksoverknives.com for more information.

 

Image credit goes to getvegucated.com

A socio-comical documentary, ‘Vegucated’ follows three meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who agree to go vegan for six weeks. This journey starts as a method of weight loss, but they soon start to uncover the dark truth of animal agriculture, and turns them against the industry they had so recently patronised.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit getvegucated.com for more information.

Image credit goes to mayibefrankmovie.com

‘May I Be Frank’ is a documentary about the moving story of an unhealthy and overweight, middle-aged, Italian-American man who discovers that a plant-based diet can help him feel and look better after he visits the vegan restaurant ‘Café Gratitude’ in Berkeley, California. The Café Gratitude employees suggest an experiment, which he accepts and undergoes a life-changing transformation that you don’t want to miss.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit mayibefrankmovie.com for more information.

Image credit goes to nationearth.com

‘Earthlings’ is one of the most talked about documentaries around, and for good reason. Directed by Shaun Monson, music by Moby and (the English version) narrated by actor Joaquin Phoenix, this film pulls no punches, and has been responsible for an awful lot of change. Not for the faint hearted, earthlings reveals the truth about the horrific way we treat animals without omitting the actual evidence, so many people have a hard time watching it (although if you can’t watch it, then you need to reconsider your consumption of animal products!).

The documentary is split into five parts that deal with different aspects of animal exploitation: pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research. The use of hidden cameras reveals the true horrors that occur on a daily basis and provide a very real, and very disturbing picture of the way humans treat fellow earthlings.

The sequel to ‘Earthlings’ is called ‘Unity’ and was released in 2015, but also look out for the third part ‘Beings’ which will arrive in 2020.

Here is the trailer (WARNING This trailer contains disturbing material):

Don’t forget to visit nationearth.com for more information

Image credit goes to theghostsinourmachine.com

Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur challenges our view of animals as food and clothing as well as animal-tested goods and animal entertainment in this award winning documentary. Throughout the film Jo-Anne photographs animals on fur farms and at Farm Sanctuary, among other places, and seeks to publish her work. One of the core messages of this film is to re-evaluate how we look at animals; to start looking at animals as individuals instead of objects. The film as a whole is a plea for animal rights.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit theghostsinourmachine.com for more information.

Image credit goes to speciesismthemovie.com

Director Mark Devries sets out to investigate the world of of factory farms and reveal their secrets, as well as exploring the idea of speciesism, which is essentially the way humans assume superiority over other animals. Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, this documentary sets out to make you rethink the way in which we treat animals and why we feel so high and mighty in an attempt to dispel the illusion of human superiority and look at animals in a new light.

Here is the trailer:

Don’t forget to visit speciesismthemovie.com for more information.

Thank you for reading this list, I hope you found something new to watch and share! With that in mind please remember that sharing these documentaries is just as important as watching them, it is essential that the information and ideas they express is distributed so that people will start seeing the truth. Animal lives, the environment and even your personal health are affected by the exploitation of animals, but people simply do not know enough to change. Going vegan is the only way we can ensure our planet avoids destruction, the only way to avoid unimaginable suffering on an unprecedented scale and the only way we can progress as an ethical, intelligent species.

Please like and share this list to help your friends and followers discover new documentaries, and consider following me on Twitter and Google+, and liking my page on Facebook, thank you.

Image Credit:
Cowspiracy – Visit cowspiracy.com for more
Peaceable Kingdom – Visit peaceablekingdomfilm.org for more
Live and Let Live (featured image) – Visit letlivefilm.com for more
Forks Over Knives – Visit forksoverknives.com for more
Vegucated – Visit getvegucated.com for more
May I Be Frank – Visit mayibefrankmovie.com for more
Earthlings – Visit nationearth.com for more
The Ghosts in Our Machine – Visit theghostsinourmachine.com for more
Speciesism: The Movie – Visit speciesismthemovie.com for more

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Saving the Slow Loris – Guest Post

This post was written by Joshua Harris-Jones over at Harris-Jones Anthropology on 26/06/2016.

The slow loris, you’ve no doubt seen pictures or videos of these adorably cute little creatures all across the internet, but there is a darker side to this trend that needs to be exposed in order to save them from extinction. There is growing awareness of the seriously harmful effects of illegal wildlife trade on loris populations, but many people are still completely unaware of the fact that Lorises simply should not be kept as pets. This article will explain what exactly the slow loris is, why the pet trade is destroying their populations and what YOU can do to help keep them from extinction.

What is the Slow Loris?

'Slow Loris' by Jmiksanek is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Slow lorises are a group of several species of nocturnal primates (genus Nycticebus) that inhabit areas of Southeast Asia, and are the only venomous primates in the world. They are primarily arboreal creatures that sleep through most of the day, and their diet consists of gums and nectar, fruit and other vegetation, and insects. They have a strong vice-like grip and specialised networks of capillaries allow them to grasp branches for hours without losing sensation. Their movement is described as slow and snakelike, and they move exceptionally quietly to avoid alerting predators. When in danger, the slow loris raises its arms to lick a specialised gland on their elbow called the brachial gland which, when mixed with the lorises saliva, forms a potent toxin that is delivered by their bite. They are indeed adorably cute, but are very shy (they are called malu malu, or ‘shy one’ in Indonesia because they freeze and cover their face when spotted) and can become extremely stressed when disturbed or removed from their habitat (wouldn’t you be?).

Closest living relatives of slow lorises

Closest living relatives of slow lorises

From an anthropological perspective, lorises are a fascinating example of primate evolution. Slow lorises are strepsirrhine primates related to other living lorisoids such as pottos, galagos and to the lemurs of Madagascar. Lorisoids are thought to have evolved in Africa, and later groups may have migrated to Asia to evolve into the slow and slender lorises of today (Phillips & Walker, 2002), with molecular clock analysis suggests that the slow loris may have begun evolving into distinct species around 1omya (Perelman et al. 2011).

Effects of Illegal Wildlife Trade

Now you know a little bit about these amazing creatures, you need to know why the pet trade is rapidly decimating loris populations and driving them towards extinction. Their habitats are being affected by deforestation, but illegal wildlife trade is having a huge effect on loris populations, this is due to their value in traditional medicine and their popularity as ‘cute’ pets. They are hunted and captured from the jungle and sold illegally in pet markets, then smuggled to countries such as Japan to be sold as pets. Almost all slow lorises kept as pets are being kept illegally, it is almost impossible to get a slow loris as a pet legally because of all the documentation and requirements, but many people either do not know or ignore this fact.

'Nycticebus tooth removal 01' by International Animal Rescue (IAR) is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0

The painful removal of teeth often leads to infection and death

However. people don’t understand how harmful this is to lorises. Firstly, since lorises are venomous, their fangs are removed, either by pulling or clipping (basically with common nail clippers), all without anaesthetic. They are kept in cramped, unsanitary conditions and handled roughly which is immensely stressful, and even after being sold off as pets, they are constantly stressed and frightened. Keeping a slow loris as a pet is extremely difficult due to the fact that the conditions they need to survive cannot be emulated properly, as such most die from infection, improper handling and inadequate nutrition. The videos that you see of lorises being tickled, fed rice balls etc. show sick, overweight and utterly terrified animals that are most likely now dead due to their owners not being able to provide the conditions they need.

The Little Fireface Project

The Little Fireface Project was started by the Nocturnal Primate Research Group of Oxford Brookes University  in 1993, and aims to save lorises from extinction by learning more about them and raising awareness and empathy around the world through education. In 2012 their research was featured in ‘Jungle Gremlins of Java’ a documentary that highlights issues surrounding the exploitation of lorises that need to be resolved. Director of the Little Fireface Project is Prof. Anna Nekaris, professor of anthropology and primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University, where I have had the honour of experiencing her teaching first hand.

You can learn more by visiting the Little Fireface Project website here

How to Help the Loris

'Slow loris' by Encyclographia is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

There are many ways in which you can help to save the lorises from extinction. One of the easiest methods is simply to spread the word; educate others and explain why lorises shouldn’t be kept as pets. Avoid watching ‘cute’ loris videos or liking pictures of pet lorises (because you now know the dark story behind them!) and actively report them as animal abuse. Many people are simply oblivious to the harm they are causing to loris populations, so you must spread knowledge to make sure they aren’t hunted to extinction. You can sign petitions and or even send a notice to your nearest Indonesian embassy to show your concerns and opposition to the illegal pet trade.

You can also donate to groups such as the Little Fireface Project, either by direct donation or by buying products that support the group, such as the Little Fireface Etsy shop. 100% of the money donated to the Little Fireface Project goes towards conservation education, fieldwork on wild and introduced slow lorises, law enforcement training initiatives and funds to support studies of these amazing creatures.

If you are feeling really ambitious you can even volunteer to travel to Java to help out! You can find out more about this here.

I hope you have found this article useful and now know more about the slow loris and the effects of the illegal wildlife trade on their numbers. Please do your best to educate others and call for the labelling of ‘cute’ loris videos as cruel and abusive so that they are removed. Share this page with your friends and family, and do your part to ensure the future of this fascinating, beautiful primate!

Don’t forget to follow this website (which you can do from the foot of this page) to keep up to date with anthropological research, and check out Harris-Jones Anthropology on Facebook,Twitter and Google+ too, thank you.

References:
Perelman, P., Johnson, W. E., Roos, C., Seuánez, H. N., Horvath, J. E., Moreira, M. A. M., Kessing, B., Pontius, J., Roelke, M., Rumpler, Y., Schneider, M. P., Silva, A., O’Brien, S. J., Pecon-Slattery, J. (2011). Brosius, J, ed. A Molecular Phylogeny of Living Primates. PloS Genetics 7(3), e1001342.
Phillips, E.M. & Walker, A. (2002). Fossil lorisoids. Ch.6 in Hartwig, W.C. The Primate Fossil Record. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Images:
Featured Image:Slow Loris‘ by Jmiksanek is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Tooth Removal: ‘Nycticebus tooth removal 01‘ by International Animal Rescue (IAR) is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0
Loris Drawing: ‘Slow loris‘ by Encyclographia is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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