The 15 Best Vegan Documentaries You Need to Be Watching in 2021

vegan documentaries

You’d be forgiven for not being familiar with the concept of a vegan many years ago. Today, however, plant-based foods are more popular than ever. Some go beyond consuming a plant-based diet and make it a whole lifestyle. There’s no way they can idly live and let things, such as animal agriculture, go on. While they’re not picking up pitchforks, they decided to go vegan, which means they speak with their actions. Animal products are a no-no to those who have wholeheartedly adopted this change.

Are you looking to go vegan? Maybe you’re not a fan of factory farming, and you’ve decided that eating animals is simply no longer going to work for you. Whatever your motivation may be, you likely have some interest in the vegan life. To that end, this is a list of some of the best vegan documentaries available.

The vegan documentary genre is nothing new, and it has been slowly grabbing many viewers’ interest. Meat and dairy products are obviously popular in the world, but what about the plant-based alternatives that exist?

These must-watch documentaries cover a series of concepts, principles, and choices synonymous with veganism. You’d be surprised by the sheer number of them out there and the eye-opening information they provide on the vegan diet.

With the introductions out of the way? Are you ready to jump in? Ready or not, here it comes!

Table Of Contents


1. Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives does an excellent job establishing a link between animal products and the prevalence of conditions, such as obesity in the United States. Obesity is viewed as an epidemic from the perspective of this documentary, which places a targeted focus on the China Study, authored by Colin Campbell.

The study focuses on China and the increasing prevalence of issues, such as heart disease and a series of other illnesses related to meat and dairy products. All of this took place upon the country’s adoption of an increasingly western diet. You can view Forks Over Knives on Netflix at your leisure and see the arguments put forward for increased adoption of veganism.

Forks over Knives Trailer

Forks Over Knives comes off as a compelling vegan documentary that goes beyond stating opinions on food choices. It’s a great watch that uses facts to substantiate its claims. If you are vegan or interested in learning more about the health benefits that going vegan can have for habitual meat-eaters, then Forks Over Knives is for you.

If you opt to watch this one, it’s not going to take you more than one and a half hours long of Netflix watch time, and there’s great insight in the film. This vegan documentary is directed by Lee Fulkerson.

2. Earthlings

Earthlings

You can watch this one on Amazon Prime Video if you’re interested in getting a sneak peek behind the scenes of the treatment of animals that people eat. This vegan documentary is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, who is an academy award-winning actor. It puts an eye-opening spin on the horrors of the meat industry. You are going to be surprised at the way it tells the story it sets out to in such graphic detail.

Watching animal agriculture unfold in this way is nothing short of disturbing. Whether you advocate for a vegan lifestyle or you consume animal products, it’s a good watch. Joaquin Phoenix does a tremendous job of bringing the message across by complementing the images of animal abuse with his voice in the film.

Earthlings Trailer

While those who practice veganism have much to gain, curious meat-eaters are the ones who have the most life-changing experiences from choosing to watch this film. There’s something unsettling about knowing you support an industry that engages in such brutal animal agriculture.

You may even wonder how a person with a heart can let live animals go through that kind of treatment. As you can imagine, you need quite a strong heart and stomach to get through the film, so don’t be surprised if even the sound of Joaquin Phoenix can get you to stay and finish the video. Still, once you start questioning your food choices as a meat-eater, the film, which is directed by Shaun Monson, has done its job.

>> Watch Earthlings Here <<

3. The Game Changers

The Game Changers

The Game Changers is another Netflix vegan documentary, and it’s directed by Louie Psihoyos. The executive producer team includes the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, and James Cameron. Arnold and Jackie need no introduction, but just in case the name James Cameron doesn’t ring a bell, this is the directorial brain behind movie classics, such as Aliens, Avatar, Titan, and The Terminator.

Apart from his film accolades, James Cameron is a huge advocate for a vegan life. He points to climate change and urges people to consider the environmental impact of a diet that includes food from animals.

At almost two hours long, this Netflix special is anything but a short film, but there’s a lot for you to unpack and learn. Human health takes center stage here as fictional elite Special Forces trainer and UFC champion James Wilks travels around the world on a journey of scientific research in the area of food. The plan was for him to find the best diet for the most extraordinary human performance.

The Game Changers Trailer

Much of the focus of The Game Changers is on a plant-based diet and the benefits that incorporating one can have for you. Though anyone can benefit from the production, athletes who are looking to go vegan are going to appreciate this eye-opening experience more than anyone else. The Game Changers has a lot of star power, but it tells the story it intended by allowing the events to speak for themselves.

It’s ironic that a movie named The Game Changers managed to be such a game-changer in vegan documentaries. The vegan diet takes center stage, and you get proof that the meat industry is not a necessity for you to not only survive, but also to thrive.

Check out The Game Changers at your earliest convenience if a plant-based diet truly interests you.

4. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Here’s yet another option that you can watch on Netflix at your leisure. It is directed and produced by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. There’s no denying that Keegan Kuhn and his team made a massive splash with what has to be one of the most impressive vegan documentaries to-date.

Animal agriculture is the central focus. Animal products and the meat industry are placed under a microscope, and their environmental impact is thoroughly assessed. The documentary is heavily rooted in scientific discoveries and facts, so it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to preach to you at any point.

Still, there are different people who believe that the narrative is twisted to fit what the directors wanted to articulate about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and its associated animal cruelty.

Cowspiracy Trailer

One of the most interesting things about this look at factory farming and animal products is that it manages to incorporate humorous undertones into itself, though it remains focused on the severity of the situation. If you weren’t someone to concern yourself with environmental impact before, this film is so compelling that it may have you doing a complete 180.

There’s a reason why it’s hailed as one of the best vegan documentaries on Netflix, and it doesn’t take long to have you questioning yourself about eating meat and if veganism is a good option where food is concerned.

Here’s a fun fact for you. Celebrities, such as Lewis Hamilton and Ne-Yo credit Kuhn and Andersen for their venture into the world of a plant-based diet.

5. Live and Let Live

Live and Let Live

When you examine many of the vegan documentaries that are out there for you to watch, there’s a common theme. They’re meant to indicate errors in the ways of the meat industry. Simultaneously, they focus on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The information provided is generally geared toward turning the masses away from meat, and factory farms tend to come into the mix, as they provide a source of food through sheer animal cruelty.

That’s not to say the claims aren’t substantiated. Whether it means doing research or planting hidden cameras, these documentaries do a great job in highlighting the dark side of animal treatment for those who eat meat.

Live and Let Live Trailer

Live and Let Live takes another approach, which contributes to its position on this list as one of the best vegan documentaries. It focuses on people who have committed to going vegan. What makes it an interesting watch is the contrast that the documentary presents as it tells the story of these people. Some of them worked in places, such as factory farms and butcher shops.

Listening to them feels like what could be everyday stories from “normal” people. Most vegan documentaries that you watch are designed to have an inhumane feel. This one contrasts it all by being surprisingly human. Hearing everyday stories from people who were at the center of factory farming hits you in a different way that you can only understand if you watch the documentary for yourself. It’s directed by Marc Pierschel, who did a tremendous job.

6. Food Inc

Food, Inc

The horrors of the meat industry are well documented for you to watch in various documentaries. However, Food Inc aims to help you to watch things unfold from a side that you probably haven’t before. The idea is to get people to understand how large corporations in the United States exercise control over and micromanage the food chain that consumers partake in.

As you watch, you get to see the level of control present that starts from the farm level and makes its way as far as the supermarkets that you buy the food from. Food Inc doesn’t take the typical “eating animals is bad, and a plant-based diet is good” route.

Food, Inc. Trailer

It’s an awe-inspiring, eye-opening experience for anyone who is interested in the vegan world and concerned for the welfare of animals that go through inhumane treatment for the sake of food.

The documentary is presented as a narrated experience. The voice is provided by activist Eric Schlosser. It features a series of interviews that allow you to watch everyday Americans express information about their dietary choices. Additionally, industry experts, such as Michael Pollan, weigh in on the matter. In the film, Pollan discusses the presence of a food shortage and the less than ethical processes being used to keep up with the demand for meat.

7. 73 Cows

73 cows

73 Cows is the definition of a short film, with its staggering run time of only 15 minutes. The production is directed by Alex Lockwood and addresses a serious matter in a surprisingly upbeat manner. It’s always great to see vegan documentaries that can promote a vegan diet without scare tactics (though they have their place in the film industry).

The story of the vegan film follows Jay Wilde and his wife. Wilde was a beef farmer in the UK who decided to give up his practice to adopt organic vegan farming. For people who enjoy some humor in vegan film content, the dynamic between Wilde, his wife, and the animals that he once would’ve slaughtered for food is nothing short of brilliant.

Wilde was the one who led his wife to the vegan side of the fence after befriending the cows. The short film does a great job in highlighting how humane behavior can save animals and contribute to better human health.

>> Watch 73 Cows Here <<

8. Blackfish

Blackfish

Blackfish is directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and it focuses on Tilikum, who was a captive killer whale that was responsible for the deaths of numerous people. The film spoke to the trainers who had a part to play in the suffering of these kinds of animals. It’s hard to tell if the intention was to turn people towards eating less meat and adopting a life of veganism, but it did have that effect on many.

If you remember the positive message concerning marine animals at the end of the movie Finding Dory, the Blackfish documentary had a huge part to play in the affair.

Blackfish Trailer

Though it may not have been a vegan film, it brought a lot of awareness to the potential side effects of the meat industry and how animals can be hurt and affected.

When you watch Blackfish, you feel like you immediately want to start advocating against the captivity of not only marine animals, but also all the others that fall prey to the needs of all the people who eat meat. Health isn’t even brought into the equation yet as there’s a targeted focus on nothing more than being kind to animals.

How can anyone not hail Blackfish as being one of the best vegan documentaries ever? Imagine unintentionally getting people to adopt a plant-based diet by showing them the horror of human behavior.

9. What the Health

What the Health

After the fantastic Cowspiracy documentary was such a smashing success, the duo of Kuhn and Andersen decided to show people that veganism is beneficial for both human and planet health. Instead of focusing on the meat industry itself, this documentary zeros in on the unwillingness of nutrition and other health organizations to do their part in letting you know what adverse effects food from animals is having on the human body.

What the Health Trailer

It’s what you expect from a film that achieves its objective by providing factual information to its audience. The fact that it’s directed by the dynamic duo of Kuhn and Andersen should be enough for you to jump at it. When you combine that with the accessibility factor of Netflix, nothing can stop you from giving the documentary a watch and learning more about the health benefits and implications that come with two conflicting dietary styles.

When celebrities talk about the documentary from the two directors that made them explore a vegan diet, What the Health is the one they refer to.

10. Maximum Tolerated Dose

Animal testing

Karol Orzechowski is the brain behind this documentary that deals with a haunting look at some of the experiences that animals go through. There are hidden cameras and undercover investigations present in this film, and some of the things that you are going to hear can only be described as quite shocking.

It’s one of those films that wasn’t intended to be a motivator toward a vegan lifestyle, but it somehow managed to achieve that objective.

The real purpose of the documentary was to get viewers to have an open discussion about the implications of animal testing. How was that achieved? Well, you’ve likely never seen a collection of scientists and lab technicians speak so openly and honestly about their opinions on the activities they are a part of in the lab.

When you bring it together with the footage, the result is shocking, to say the least. The only saving grace is that it’s not all bad. While there are some heartbreaking tales about animals behind the cage, there are some heartwarming ones too.

Though the intended purpose had nothing to do with veganism, it’s never the wrong time to get humans to start thinking about the animals that form a part of their food chain. What implications does it have for your health when they are disregarded? How does the ecosystem suffer?

If you’ve ever thought about laboratory animals and what they go through in being the first phase of testing for various compounds, this film can clear up any doubts you may have.

>> Watch Maximum Tolerated Dose Here <<

11. Called to Rescue

Called To Rescue - Redefining Our Barnyard Story

Here’s another film you can watch online if you have vegan interests. Sometimes, with all the vegan documentaries that show you the more grim side of the equation, this one applies a more positive form of affirmation and reinforcement. Though you start by adopting a vegan diet, you still need to remember the animals out there that need to be rescued and cared for because of a series of different circumstances.

This documentary follows the work of sanctuary workers who have dedicated themselves to not only rescuing animals, but also doing the rehabilitative work needed to get them to a state of comfort. The best part is they never seem like a random set of animals throughout the film.

Called to Rescue Trailer

The team views every animal as an individual with a name and a story, which serves to make things more heartwarming. As you watch, you can’t help but feel great inside to know that there are people who have taken animal protection and care this seriously. Whether you’re a vegan or not, the documentary is likely to affect you in the same way.

You even get a sneak peek into the lives that each animal lives in its new sanctuary home.

12. Vegan: Everyday Stories

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This is a feature-length vegan-aimed documentary that you can watch on Amazon Prime Video if you have a subscription to the service. It tells the story of four incredibly different people who have nothing in common but their vegan lifestyle. The must-watch film is a reminder to those who think all vegans fall into a single mold that they’re wrong.

Being vegan indicates nothing but your choice of a plant-based diet and that you stay away from animal products. The benefits of a plant-based menu are endless, and each vegan in this documentary is well aware of that. There’s a runner, an animal sanctuary owner, and food truck owner, and an eight-year-old activist.

Vegan: Everyday Stories Trailer

You don’t have to do much imagining to figure out the dynamic between that cast. The best part is you get to watch them explain how their backstories unfolded during the film. Take the child, for example. Many kids love meat and would much rather drown themselves in the unhealthiest of foods.

What got this eight-year-old to be so health conscious? Furthermore, imagine taking it to the level of being an activist. Vegan documentaries, such as these, bring something fresh to the table, which is the motivation you need to keep watching a film.

>> Watch Vegan: Everyday Stories Here <<

13. Vegucated

Vegucated

This has to be one of the best plays on words in the history of documentaries focused on veganism. The film is directed by Marisa Miller Wolfson, and you can enjoy it on Netflix or Prime Video at your leisure. The comedic undertone makes this an interesting watch. Depending on how you view the documentary, it shows how easy or hard it is to adopt a vegan diet. You get to watch three New Yorkers who were previously lovers of eating animal products, such as meat and cheese, make the jump to a plant-based eating regimen.

As entertaining as it is to watch their triumphs and fumbles, you get a sense that it is giving you a guided tour of what you need to do to commit to becoming a vegan. Sometimes, when former meat-lover decide to pay attention to climate change and save the animals, they make it sound like an easy switch.

Vegucated Trailer

They make it sound like you can’t have enough meat one day, and you want nothing but plant-based treats on the next. Sadly, some vegan documentaries are also guilty of giving anyone who chooses to watch them the same idea. This film lets you see what’s happening behind closed doors and the lifestyle and mental changes one has to go through to stay committed to this lifestyle. It may not be an award-winning entry, but the entertainment value and the lessons it teaches makes it a staple of vegan documentaries.

14. Okja

Okja

Here’s yet another excellent vegan documentary for you to enjoy on your Netflix subscription. The award-winning production speaks out against the idea of the consumption of animal-based products. The best part of the film is that it manages to do this without making any direct statements. Instead, it communicates its message through its flow as viewers watch. You can’t watch this documentary as a vegan and not be proud. Even if you aren’t vegan, watching this may put a few ideas in your head.

Some people view the animal cruelty that’s synonymous with the products as happenstance. In their eyes, it’s nothing but a means to an end. However, the documentary shows how deliberate the human heart can be toward satisfying its own desires at the expense of the health and welfare of the animals.

Okja Trailer

Technically, the health and welfare of humans are also at risk, considering the way the animal farming process works. This film has a stellar reputation as it’s not another of those documentaries that provide you with an overload of information in a direct sense.

Instead, this Netflix documentary preaches its principles through an action story that is both compelling and edifying. This film is a big win for veganism, and learning to understand the complexities that can exist in a relationship between humans and animals makes a huge difference.

>> Watch Okja on Netflix <<

15. Dominion

Dominion

Dominion is the final vegan-aimed documentary on the list, and it takes the route of a private investigation to uncover how meat industries in Australia work. It’s a compelling watch, and the drones and hidden cameras do a great job of capturing the footage needed for the documentary to achieve its intended objective. As you watch this vegan documentary, you should enjoy the voiceovers that perfectly complement the tone and message of the film.

This is another production that’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, which is enough to assure you of the quality present. Additionally, he’s joined by Sia, Nara, and Kat Von D. These are some of the most famous influencers of the vegan lifestyle, and this project brought them together in perfect harmony, so those watching would genuinely pay attention and heed the message.

Dominion Trailer

Note that this is another of the documentaries that take a very grim look at the way animals are treated and the health crises that result. Many who watch it describe it as too graphic or violent. Whether you have adopted the vegan lifestyle or not, watch this production and learn from it.

>> Watch Dominion Here <<


What Are the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet?

Several of these productions focus on a plant-based diet, and they encourage you to go vegan. The question is, what do you have to gain by adopting the vegan lifestyle? What are you getting for giving up your meat? Consider the following advantages:

  • A vegan tends to have an easier time getting a dangerous blood pressure to a low and safe point.
  • A plant-based diet is very effective at helping you to achieve and maintain great heart health.
  • A vegan is 34% less likely to end up with type two diabetes.
  • A vegan has a lower risk of cancer than a meat-eater. Red meats are among the most dangerous.
  • A plant-based diet works wonders for your cholesterol.
  • Your risk of stroke falls by 21% just for eating a vegan diet.
  • You can lower your risk of brain impairments, such as dementia, by practicing veganism.
  • Veganism tends to boost your ability to lose unhealthy body fat.

What Are the Best Vegan Documentaries?

The first point to note is that every documentary listed is an amazing one, and they all deserve your attention. The effort put into them, and the way they all go about promoting their messages indicates a lot of time being invested into making them.

Some of them, such as Okja and Vegcucated, tell their stories in unique ways. However, the title of the best documentary has to go to The Game Changers. Presenting the idea of veganism as the epitome of human function and performance was genius. The star-studded and experienced crew also did the movie a lot of favors!

Thomas
Thomas has been vegan for over 5 years and has decided to move to Costa Rica with his family to be closer to nature and live a more minimalistic life. He loves yummy vegan food and sustainable products.