I was extremely excited to see this film, and after much anticipation finally got my chance! The highly acclaimed film opened with the above quote from King, which set the thought-provoking tone for the night. The audience follows the journey of one of the filmmakers, Kip Andersen (the other is Keegan Kuhn) as he discovers and uncovers the hidden secrets of America’s meat production. Over the course of his journey Andersen is shaken from his comfort zone, and forced to confront the global impacts of his own eating habits.
Andersen’s journey toward sustainable living began when he saw Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth which rattled him to his core and forced Andersen to ask himself, “How do we live sustainably on the planet with 7 billion people?” His mission from then on was to live a lifestyle that reduced his carbon footprint to as little as possible. He was doing everything he could, including suffering ice cold showers until one day…
His paradigm was challenged to the extreme when he came across a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Oranization published Nov. 29, 2006, Livestock’s Long Shadow. The report stated that raising cattle for meat production produced more greenhouses gases than the entire transportation sector: 18% compared to 13%! Andersen did what anybody would do, and Googled the topic further…the information he came across was more chilling than his icy showers. Not only did animal agriculture produce more methane and carbon dioxide than other sectors (some estimates as high as 50% according to a 2009 World Watch Report), it is also the leading cause of water pollution and waste, deforestation, animal extinction, and a major contributor to world hunger. The next question he had to ask was, “Why doesn’t everybody know about this?”
Cowspiracy is Andersen’s journey to uncover the truth. Is this information intentionally being hidden from the public? If so, who is behind it all? The government? Big corporations? Large environmental organizations?
The film began with one man’s question, and has resulted in a tidal wave of outrage and action from the thousands of people who have since viewed the film. There’s no denying it: meat’s no treat. But why is it so hard to get any public, private or governmental organization to address animal agriculture as a significant contributor (if not the primary cause) of the world’s ills?
“People don’t want to hear it, because that means they have to do something about it.”
Here’s just one of the many examples of frustratingly humorous situations Andersen finds himself in as he uncovers the truth:
So really, what does the public believe is the main cause of climate change?
In an interview with an expert, he stated that we will and currently are, exceeding the amount of greenhouse gases that the planet is able to handle. His focus was on reducing fossil fuels with fracking being the hot-button issue of the moment. Raising animals for food requires more water than the process of fracking, and produces approximately the same amount of methane according to the film’s fact check. However, when Andersen asked this expert about animal agriculture, he was met with a blank stare that he would soon become all too familiar with. Then on to the misdirection…
On and on, every big environmental organization watchdog he visited: Green Peace, Sierra Club, Surf Rider no one wanted to focus on animal agriculture and factory farming as the cause of their problems. His questions were met with deflection, diversion, avoidance, and misdirection.
Currently, 75% of Americans consider themselves environmentalists. According to Howard Lyman, the former cattle rancher of 45 years who was on Oprah when she declared she would never eat another hamburger and was subsequently sued, didn’t hold back, “You cannot call yourself an environmentalist if you continue to eat meat and dairy.”
If all the “environmentalists” would live what they profess, we could get almost the whole population to go vegan. We could change the world overnight (Lyman, paraphrased).
Cowspiracy acts on viewer’s emotions like Earthlings and educates like Forks Over Knives all while exposing the hidden secrets of the industry like Food, Inc.
Stay tuned for Cowspiracy Series pt. 2! I’ll talk about the issue of population overcrowding and environmental destruction in detail, as well as the depths big corporations will sink to for profits.
Visit the film’s website for trailers, video clips like the one in my post, and unbelievable facts: http://cowspiracy.com/
Have you seen the film? What did you think? Let me know below!