Vegan advocacy is becoming more pronounced as climate issues progress and human diseases increase. Though studies focused on food vary in terms of how beneficial many different diets are, vegan diet studies increasingly focus on nutritional benefits of the diet, along with its humane nature in relation to animals and the environment. There is an increase in documentaries which largely focus on the terrible existence of factory farmed animals, which in turn is advancing the vegan movement.
A very recent documentary, released in 2013 and toured in 2014, Speciesism focuses on the mindset of people who are involved in the culture of eating, wearing and using animals for human wants. The director, a young man by the name of Mark Devries, interviews many factory farm operations, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), biologists and people on the street to acquire the answer for why animals are regarded as lower than humans and therefore can and should be exploited. Devries emphasizes that people today are no different than humans who enslaved other humans years ago; people who use animals are participating in a holocaust that is happening every day on factory farms.
One of the most popular documentaries about the plight of farm animals, Food Inc., holds an intense focus on the ownership of the majority of the food industry and its interests in profit over quality. Food Inc. creates an easily accessible bridge between the filth of many factory farms and the diseases that riddle consumers. Much like Speciesism, Food Inc. touches on the bizarre nature of eating the corpse of another living being, why it is so popular and how it is fueling many of the world’s most dire problems. The advancement of the vegan diet may be heavily credited to this particular documentary.
Of course, there are documentaries which advocate for a vegan diet by covering health benefits of the diet, rather than mainly focusing on the barbaric nature of factory farm operations. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead follows Joe Cross on his journey to get slim and reverse many ailments which plague his body, such as obesity and autoimmune disease. On par with Speciesism, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead emphasizes that a vegan diet, or plant-based diet, has every nutrient which is necessary for a healthy human body. Though, unlike Speciesism, Cross’s journey of juicing and eating a strictly plant-based diet is intended to improve his health and allow him to live a life without needing medication to help his body achieve a balance.
Maintaining a vegan diet has never been easier. There is an abundance of vegan faux meat products available in average grocery stores and fruits and vegetables are becoming a large staple in diets around America. No matter the focus of a documentary advocating the vegan lifestyle, the overall sentiment is the same: Utilizing animals as a means to an end for humans is bound to become an action of the past. With every new documentary comes a slightly different view on the large problem of factory farming and its relationship to human health. The advancement of the vegan movement is fueled by documentaries and growing knowledge of factory farming.
Opinion by Courtney Heitter