Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is shaping up to be the biggest controversial documentary to hit theaters since the likes of Blackfish and The Cove. The filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn began a campaign on Indiegogo which closed on June 4, 2014, after raising over $110,000 to cover the costs of production and distribution. The film began its debut screenings across the nation in June, and has been steadily gathering more followers.
Cowspiracy is first and foremost about the harm that animal agriculture, specifically cattle farms, has caused to our planet. In an interesting twist, however, the film examines an even bigger issue: why the biggest environmental agencies refrain from speaking up about the meat industry. If these big-name organizations are truly trying to better our environment, then why are they silent on the topic of animal agriculture – arguably the grandest threat to our planet’s resources?
In the film, Andersen and Kuhn (with the help of many professors, authors and scientists) closely study six specific spheres where animal agriculture has negatively impacted our society. The areas under scrutiny include water depletion, global warming, ocean pollution, wildlife extinction, rainforest degradation and population control. When these issues are brought to the organizations that defend them, like SurfRider and Sierra Club, the groups’ representatives become shockingly silent on the topic of animal agriculture. The film argues the reason animal agriculture is not at the forefront of environmental efforts is because of its controversial nature. The meat industry is one of the largest industries in the world, so many organizations may fear not supporting it means financial risk and danger for themselves. While protecting the environment – not themselves – is the outward goal of these organizations, their silence speaks volumes.
The film is not intended to attack environmental groups, but to simply bring awareness to the central problem that is not being resolved, or even addressed. Instead of considering the influence of cows and animal farms, the organizations place blame on other human-made errors like recycling and rising human populations. For example, in the two hundred years between 1812 and 2012, our population has grown from 1 billion to 7 billion people. Yes, that large number has definitely made its impact on the planet, but that impact becomes augmented exponentially when the majority consume mass amounts of meat daily. If we turn that around, and encourage more people to go vegan, our population will produce less of a carbon footprint and instead produce a healthier, more beautiful planet.
As expected, the film has garnered debates on every angle of its subject matter. Even with the negative remarks, this film has started an important conversation. The more people talking and debating about animal agriculture, the more awareness will be brought to the issue.
Take a look at Cowspiracy’s website to learn more about their mission, and be sure to see the film when it comes to a theater near you!