If you care about animals or the environment and you haven't seen Kip Anderson’s documentary Cowspiracy, you need to immediately. Cowspiracy is an eye-opening documentary that explores the relationship between animal agriculture and the environment. The film starts off with Kip talking about the measures he was taking to do his part in the fight against global warming like taking shorter showers, riding his bike everywhere, and changing all of his lightbulbs to more energy-efficient ones and how that all seemed insignificant when he stumbled upon a UN report which stated that cattle produces more greenhouse gasses than the entire transportation sector - a whopping 18 percent versus the 13 percent that the transportation sector contributes to. This led him to want to find out what his favourite environmental groups like Greenpeace were doing to help address the issue and he was shocked to see that none of them mentioned anything about animal agriculture when livestock has been proven to be the leading cause of resource consumption and environmental degradation.
Most environmental groups focus on issues like natural gas and oil production, with fracking being the latest issue due to water contamination and pollution but what about animal agriculture and it’s effects on rain forests and our oceans? Kip tried to find out why most of these groups refused to address the issue and was either met with resistance or not given a straight answer. He aptly referred to this as “some weird cowspiracy matrix”. It was strange that the government and environmental groups would suggest shorter showers and fixing leaky faucets as a way to preserve water but wouldn't tell you to limit your meat and animal product consumption (or cut it out entirely) due to the fact that the average Californian uses 1500 gallons of water per person per day and a staggering half of that daily water usage is related to the consumption of meat and dairy products.
Evidence has shown that livestock is the leading cause of resource consumption and environmental degradation. One of the reasons being that cows produce a substantial amount of methane from their digestive process which is about 25-100 times more destructive than the co2 emissions from transportation. Even grass-fed, free roaming, “biological” meat has a part to play in this because it takes 18 months for conventionally raised animals to go from farm to table while it takes 22 months for biological meat meaning four extra months of grain and water and four extra months of co2 emissions. Rapid population increase also plays a role in agri-business’ detriment to the planet. If the population continues to increase the way it’s been increasing we won't be able to produce enough food to feed the earth’s population.
In addition to interviews, Cowspiracy also has great graphs that show side by side comparisons that make it easier to visualise the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and the earth’s resources and put it into perspective. If we collectively change our behaviour, we may be able to significantly reduce the effects of global warming on the planet starting with baby-steps like reducing the amount of meat and animal products we consume until we don’t consume any. Not only is a plant-based lifestyle better for Mother Earth, it’s also better for your body and it’s been medically proven in Forks Over Knives.
And in case you’re concerned about not getting enough protein on a vegan, plant-based diet, check out our blog post on Plant-based protein.