Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

By Katie Linton

Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn’s “Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret” is a game changer as well as a five out of five star documentary.

I went into it thinking it would be another one of those documentaries that try to scare you out of eating meat by showing you gruesome, cringe-worthy scenes of slaughter houses.

Yes, those are effective. But not to the same extent as “Cowspiracy”.

I myself have never been much of a carnivore, but mostly because I don’t like the way meat looks. I think if the horrific images I’ve seen in other “meat is murder” documentaries had stuck in my head, they would have been more than enough to put an end to all meat in my daily diet, but those images haven’t stuck with me because I close my eyes, I can’t even watch those scenes because it’s just too much. How is a film supposed to spark a movement or make a change if you can’t even watch it?

This is one of the reasons I think “Cowspiracy” is so effective. It doesn’t try to scare you into knowing what it wants you to know. It gives you the facts and asks that you think about things and in most cases re-evaluate some choices in your life.

Not to mention “Cowspiracy” dives into an issue that a powerful industry has been hiding for years; because if this information surfaced for the public, the industry would begin to lose copious amounts of money.

That industry being commercial livestock products: cattle farms, dairy farms, chicken farms, pig farms, etc. As the movie mentioned when we think of “global warming”, CO2 emissions, and greenhouse gases we tend to think of human transport and factories as some of the leading contributors, but in reality the leading contributor to climate change is livestock agriculture. Kind of crazy to think about, but the facts are all there in the film.

My first thought was, “wow seriously, there can’t be that many cows and they can’t release that much CO2 into the atmosphere” but 98 percent of earth’s biomass is humans and animals owned by humans. That means only 2 percent of the biomass on this giant planet is wild. So yeah there are a lot of cows and there are a lot of people; and a lot of those people really like to eat meat and drink milk which simply means more and more and more cows.

51 percent of greenhouse gases come from the animal agriculture industry. Still seem like a crazy number? Well, it’s not just about the cows themselves. It’s also about the amount of grain cows eat, the amount of water cows drink, the amount of land cows live on. Every little detail contributes to the giant ecological footprint this industry is creating.

When you eat a piece of meat (the film’s example is a hamburger), you’re “technically” eating more than just that one little burger. You’re also consuming all the water needed to quench the cow’s thirst, to water the cow’s food, you’re consuming all the grains and grasses the cow ate and all the land the cow grazed on too.

“Cowspiracy” was actually banned from Netflix for a while after its release, I’m sure companies like Netflix didn’t want giant meat corporations coming down their throats.

But now it’s out. It’s on Netflix and it’s so worth the watch, not to mention it’s seemingly pretty partial to the future of this planet that you do watch it and allow yourself to know what’s going on. It will probably make you want to cry and it will probably make you want to get up, go out, and make a difference; save the planet and all that good stuff. Which is what a good film should make you want to do in my opinion.

And remember next time you’re eating a hamburger think about those 600 gallons of water that went in to making that one hamburger.


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