2014 documentary film exploring the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a 2014 American documentary film which explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and investigates the policies of environmental organizations on this issue.

Directed and produced by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn.

Kip Andersen

  • I found out that one quarter-pound hamburger requires over 660 gallons of water to produce. Here I've been taking these short showers, trying to save water, and to find out just eating one hamburger is the equivalent of showering two entire months.
  • I had to come to the full conclusion, the only way to sustainably and ethically live on this planet with seven billion other people is to live an entirely plant-based vegan diet. I decided instead of eating others, to eat for others. At first, like these environmental groups, I was afraid of what it’d mean to change. But now, I embrace it. All this talk about sustainability sounded like our planet was on some sort of life support. And I don’t want her to simply survive or to sustain, but to thrive. Life today is not about sustainability. It’s about thrive-ability. She’s given so much to us for so long, it was time to give back. A hundred and eight percent of everything we have. It felt good. It was an alignment.
  • The most biologically and culturally diverse place on the planet is under massive attack right now. The Amazon rainforest itself could be gone in a matter of the next 10 years. […] Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of deforestation—definitely in the Brazilian Amazon—is agribusiness. Cattle, cattle grazing, and soy production in particular. […] People who were standing up against the lobbyists and the interests, the special interests, the cattle industry, the agribusiness industry, what was happening to them? A lot of people who were speaking out got killed. […] There’s people who were putting themselves out there and saying cattle ranching is destroying the Amazon. […] A lot of people will speak up, but a lot of people just keep their mouths shut because they don’t wanna be the next one with the bullet to their head.
  • The animal agriculture industry is one of the most powerful industries on the planet. I think most people in this country are aware of the influence of money and industry on politics, and we really see that clearly on display with this industry in particular. Most people would be shocked to learn that animal rights and environmental activists are the number one domestic terrorism threat according to the FBI. […] A big part of it is that they, more than really any other social movements today, are directly threatening corporate profits. When we try to find out how factory farms and how animal agriculture is polluting the environment, they try to claim exemptions to that information, either under "national security terms" or "public safety", "trademark issues", "it’s a business secret". We've seen all these attempts to keep people in the dark about what they’re actually doing.
  • Is it possible to be a healthy vegetarian or vegan? I became vegan, let’s see, 32 years ago now. And, I run several miles every day, I go biking 40, 50 miles through the countryside, I work long hours, I feel great, it’s nice waking up with a light, trim body every day. And so many of my vegan friends, and patients, you know, are thriving, ever since their transition to a vegan diet. So, yes, and I’ve seen vegan moms go through healthy vegan pregnancies, deliver healthy vegan children, and raise them to tall, full-size, intelligent vegan adults. And, yes, certainly, all the nutrients are there in the plant kingdom to do this.
  • If we all, as a society, did go vegan, and we moved away from eating animal foods and toward a plant-based diet, what would happen? If we didn’t kill all these cows and eat them, then we wouldn’t have to breed all these cows because we’re breeding cows, and chickens, and pigs, and fish. We’re breeding them over and over again, relentlessly. So if we didn’t breed them, then we wouldn’t have to feed them. If we didn’t have to feed them, then we wouldn’t have to devote all this land to growing grains, and legumes, and so forth to feed to them. And so then the forests could come back. Wildlife could come back. The oceans would come back. The rivers would run clean again. The air would come back. Our health would return.
  • When you take the animal out, you also take the greenhouse gas issue out. And you take the food safety issues out. And you take some of other externalities related to food scarcity out. But one thing that’s amazing is I think you put our values back in. You put values like compassion, and integrity, and kindness. Values that are natural to human beings, you put that in. You build that back into the story of our food.
  • Do what you can do, as well as you can do it, every day of your life, and you will end up dying one of the happiest individuals that have ever died.
  • You can change the world. You must change the world.



Quotes about Cowspiracy

  • It was only when my wife, Eunice Wong, took me to see Cowspiracy, the documentary by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, that I fully understood how severe the damage the animal agriculture industry has done to our democracy, as well as to our health and our environment. My attitude toward becoming a vegan before seeing the film was similar to Augustine's attitude toward becoming celibate: "God grant me abstinence, but not yet." […] The film documents the cascading, domino-like impact of animal agriculture on the global ecosystem. I realized when I saw it that the animal agriculture industry was one of the most important forces in the corporate strangulation of the common good. And I kicked myself for missing this.
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