December 28, 2015

Cowspiracy Review Rewritten

An edit and revamping of my answer to "How accurate is the film Cowspiracy" was undergone this Christmas. The main things covered included greenhouse gas emissions with emphasis on methane, grazing practices, and Allan Savory's Holistic Management.

I found Cowspiracy to be very single-minded and quite shallow with only one fundamentalist agenda: To appeal to the abolitionist/militant/reductionist vegan goal to have the Earth completely rid of all livestock, including cows and cattle, and convert every human being on the planet to a vegan. No compromises. I have been challenged on many fronts on how it's "not a propaganda piece" but if a film only has one ultimate "solution" to the world-wide problem of feeding the world and climate change being a "plant-based diet" or veganism, then yes, it is a propaganda piece and not an open-ended documentary that allows further discussion once the film is done. Those are true documentaries. Cowspiracy is a mocking of those kind of documentaries.
The remarkable superficiality of this mock-drama-doc is because of the quantity of facts, memes and graphics thrown out at the audience, not because of the quality. As long as there were a whole lot of facts against all aspects of livestock raising was thrown out there, regardless how out of date or erroneous they were, the producers knew that the inundation of such facts was going to overwhelm the audience so much to spring them into some kind of action. For me though, that action was to dig as deep as I could and pause the movie as often as possible to write notes. The more notes I wrote, and the more I paused, the more I could see just how much of a biased joke it was.
The narrator/protagonist Kip Anderson's sudden "realization" that he couldn't affect climate change after doing all the things he was supposed to--like turning off the lights when not in the room, watching water consumption, walking or riding a bike instead of driving, etc.--because animal agriculture was causing all the problem was amusing. He was just one person out of 7 billion people trying to make a difference, he himself couldn't affect climate change just by doing all those "greener living" things, though he would be a small part of the solution. Even more head-shaking was his "eureka" moment with just one email from a friend about meat-eating, although legit, but the way that he and his producers went about to find out about it all was just simply wrong.
Since the film was a cunningly deliberate means to pit the omnivorous "meat-eaters" against the hard-core vegans, it only created the facade that ONLY those who NEVER eat meat are "true environmentalists" and maligned anyone else who ate meat, no matter if it came from the ethical, far more sustainably-raised operations, as the environmental destroyers and greedy gluttons of the Earth.  That, in itself, was a huge problem I had (and still have) a big beef with. Literally.

Read more here: My Answer to the Cowspiracy Quora Question
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