If you’re vegan-curious or if you’ve recently adopted a plant-based diet or a vegan diet you'll probably want to educate yourself further on the vegan way.
The best way to do that is to kick back in front of the TV and watch a vegan documentary or two.
The “vegan documentary” is a burgeoning genre with it's growth in line with the growing interest in plant-based meat alternatives.
And while some of these documentaries examine animal agriculture or the vegan lifestyle, others enjoy a broader purview, for example, exploring the concept of sustainable organic vegan farming.
The idea is to help you stop eating animal products and take up a plant-based diet. Vegan diets avoid factory farming, eschew the meat industry and are based on scientific research.
There are quite a lot of documentaries about vegan topics out there now and it can be quite confusing working out where to start with them, so we’ve narrowed it down to 10 of the best for you.
Top 10 Vegan Documentaries
Directors: Kip Andersen (co-director), Keegan Kuhn (co-director) | Writers: Kip Andersen (co-writer), Keegan Kuhn (co-writer) | Actors: Lisa Agabian, Manucher Alemi, Lindsey Allen
This is the finest film of the lot and it’s easy to find on Netflix which makes getting hold of it super simple.
The purpose of Cowspiracy is straightforward.
It aims to spell out in clear and simple terms, the impact of animal products on the planet. It's a similar message to other vegan documentaries.
How animal farming creates climate change and water shortages, for example, it’s a shocking watch but truly essential.
You’ll also be surprised to learn how many “environmentally friendly” organizations are no such thing.
Many people switch to vegan food, not for the health benefits but because they've been put off animal products and animal protein and eating meat by Cowspiracy.
The food system is brutal for meat-eaters and it's hard to eat meat when you realize it. This documentary is one of the big reasons why people go vegan.
Director: Shaun Monson | Writer: Shaun Monson | Actor: Joaquin Phoenix
You can watch Earthlings online but before you do, this one comes with a warning it contains highly graphic footage that you may find very disturbing.
It’s a very important film when it comes to understanding the suffering of animals in the food chain.
However, the focus on brutality in Earthlings makes this a hard movie to endure and some people may prefer to skip it.
Maximum Tolerated Dose
Director: Karol Orzechowski
Maximum Tolerated Dose is a brutally honest depiction of how the laboratory industry uses and abuses animals at a terrifying rate for testing.
Some of these tests may be necessary but many more seem designed to tick arbitrary boxes in a bureaucratic world.
You can watch Maximum Tolerated Dose here online and it’s not quite as graphic as many other vegan documentaries.
Called to Rescue
Directors: Loghan Call (co-director), Naomi Sophia Call (co-director)
Sure, there are some distressing moments in Called to Rescue but mainly this is a wonderfully uplifting tale.
It's focus is the hard work and determination of the people who work in animal sanctuaries and the impact that they have on animals’ lives and the peace they find in the sanctuaries.
You can see Called to Rescue for free online and we thoroughly recommend that you do, you’ll come away feeling better about the world.
Director: Christopher Dillon Quinn | Writers: Christopher Dillon Quinn, Jonathan Safran Foer (book) | Actor: Natalie Portman
The massively talented Natalie Portman produced and narrated this.
The executive producer was the one and only James Cameron. Yes, the James Cameron of the Titanic.
So you know that this is going to be worth watching. And so it proves to be.
Director: Chris Delforce | Writer: Chris Delforce | Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Sia
If you need some celebrities to add to the action, then look no farther than Dominion which brings out a host of top names to talk about the horrors of animal cruelty.
Kat Von D, Sia, Joaquin Phoenix and more help to spell out why there’s a need to put a stop to meat eating.
Premiers of the movie in theaters sold out and it’s easy to see why. You can watch it for free online now.
Director: Louie Psihoyos | Writer: Mark Monroe | Actors: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones
This movie won an Academy Award!
The Cove is the epic tale of what happens when one man, Ric O’Barry, decides that he’s had enough.
He goes from being a dolphin trainer to the man brave enough to tackle the entire Japanese dolphin hunting industry.
Marine life has never had a better champion and the fishing industry has never had such a tenacious opponent.
Vegan: Everyday Stories
Director: Glenn Scott Lacey | Actors: Neal Barnard, Gene Baur, Ed Begley Jr.
We like this one a lot.
Vegan: Everyday Stories tells the story of four very different people with a single common thread between them – the fact that they’re all vegan.
From an ultra-runner to an eight-year-old, each one explains what veganism is to them and why they made the move.
You can watch this movie for free on their website or you can pay Amazon for the privilege of watching it.
Before The Flood
Director: Fisher Stevens | Writer: Mark Monroe | Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ki-moon Ban, Alejandro G. Iñárritu
This isn’t 100% vegan but it’s designed to get you thinking about the overall impact of your actions on the planet and how to remedy the issues.
Given the importance of a vegan diet in preventing further climate change this is very much worth your time.
Also, it’s got Leonardo DiCaprio in it and if you want a great movie, that’s a good place to start.
Director: Alex Lockwood | Actors: Jay Wilde, Katja Wilde
This is fun and uplifting. It tackles the tale of the first British beef farmer to quit selling beef and go completely organic vegan, instead.
Along the way, the farmer begins to develop friendships with the animals that he would once have sent to slaughter.
See them live! And you can do it online here.
While you're waiting for your vegan documentary to download why not take a peek at our vegan memes guide.