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Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
A movie poster showing a cow with a sunset in the background
Movie Poster for Cowspiracy
Directed byKip Andersen
Keegan Kuhn
Produced byKip Andersen
Keegan Kuhn
StarringKip Andersen
Howard Lyman
Richard Oppenlander
Michael Pollan
Michael Klaper
Will Tuttle
Will Potter
CinematographyKeegan Kuhn
Edited byKip Andersen
Keegan Kuhn
Appian Way
A.U.M. Films
First Spark Media
Release date
  • June 26, 2014 (2014-06-26) (Los Angeles)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a 2014 documentary film which explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and investigates the policies of a few environmental organizations on this issue. The film looks at various environmental concerns, including global warming, water use, deforestation, and ocean dead zones, and suggests that animal agriculture is the primary source of environmental destruction.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has disputed the film's assertion that the majority of greenhouse gases driving climate change are produced by animal agriculture, as this runs counter to scientific consensus which is that the main cause is fossil fuel emissions.[1][2] A 2018 peer-reviewed meta-analysis also found that a “no animal products” scenario delivers a 28% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy, as opposed to the film's assertion of 51%.[3]


The documentary was directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, and explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and investigates the policies of environmental organizations on this issue. Environmental organizations investigated in the film include Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, Oceana.[4][5][6][7]


The film was crowdfunded on IndieGoGo, with 1,449 contributors giving $117,092. This funding was 217% of their goal, and it allowed them to dub the film into Spanish and German and subtitle it into more than 10 other languages, including Chinese and Russian.[8][9] Screenings are licensed through the distributor, as well as through the now-defunct Tugg Inc. website.[10]

An updated version of the documentary, executive-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, premiered globally on Netflix on September 15, 2015.[11]

The 2017 documentary What the Health was written, produced, and directed by the same production team (Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn) as Cowspiracy.[12]

Featured individuals[edit]

Co-producer/director Keegan Kuhn speaks at the Cowspiracy conference in Berkeley, September 2016.

The following individuals were featured in the film:


Cowspiracy won the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 South African Eco Film Festival,[13] as well as the Best Foreign Film Award at the 12th annual Festival de films de Portneuf sur l'environnement.[14] It was also nominated for Cinema Politica’s 2015 Audience Choice Award.[15]

Doug Boucher, reviewing the film for the Union of Concerned Scientists, disputed the film's assertion that 51% of global greenhouse gases are caused by animal agriculture. Boucher describes the 51% figure as being sourced from a 2009 Worldwatch Institute report by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang,[16] not from a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Boucher said methodological flaws in Goodland and Anhang's logic, and said that the scientific community formed a consensus that global warming is primarily caused by humanity's burning of fossil fuels.[1] Boucher stated that the scientific consensus is that livestock contribute 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions - far lower than the 51% stated by the film.[1] Boucher's review concludes: "Movies like Cowspiracy aren’t believable, not only because of how they twist the science, but also because of what they ask us to believe: that the fossil fuel industry—the ExxonMobils of the world—aren’t the main cause of global warming... and that thousands of scientists have covered up the truth about the most important environmental issue of our time."[1].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Boucher, Doug (10 June 2016). "Movie Review: There's a Vast Cowspiracy about Climate Change". The Equation blog. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  2. ^ Herrero, Mario; Wirsenius, Stefan; Henderson, Benjamin; Rigolot, Cyrille; Thornton, Philip; Havlík, Petr; de Boer, Imke; Gerber, Pierre (November 2015). "Livestock and the Environment: What Have We Learned in the Past Decade?". Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 40: 177–202. doi:10.1146/annurev-environ-031113-093503.
  3. ^ Poore, J.; Nemecek, T. (1 June 2018). "Reducing food's environmental impacts through producers and consumers". Science. 360 (6392): 987–992. Bibcode:2018Sci...360..987P. doi:10.1126/science.aaq0216. PMID 29853680.
  4. ^ Kanner, Ellen (August 4, 2014). "Meatless Monday -- 'Cowspiracy:' The One Thing No One Talks About". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  5. ^ Animal Agriculture: A Neglected Agent of Global Warming? The co-producers of the documentary film "Cowspiracy" discuss the environmental impact of Intensive animal farming - and why mainstream organizations have been silent about it. November 20, 2014, The Real News
  6. ^ "Cowspiracy". Village. February 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  7. ^ "Burgers Are Ending the World, Says Cowspiracy". SF Weekly. Jun 25, 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  8. ^ "Cowspiracy IndieGoGo campaign page".
  9. ^ Alison Homewood. "Beware Cowspiracy – and the spread of the vegan virus -- New Internationalist". New Internationalist.
  10. ^ "Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret". Tugg Inc.
  11. ^ "Exclusive: Interview With Directors Of 'Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret' On Netflix, A Controversial New Documentary". Decider. August 27, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-28.
  12. ^ Jackie Day (January 23, 2016). "Cowspiracy Film Makers Announce NEW film: What the Health!". My Vegan Journal.
  13. ^ "Cowspiracy Wins Audience Choice Award". The South African Eco Film Festival. April 9, 2015. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  14. ^ "Le FFPE récompense les films gagnants de la 12e édition". Festival de films de Portneuf sur l'environnement. April 27, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-28.
  15. ^ "Vote for the 2015 Audience Choice Award!". Cinema Politica. April 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-24.
  16. ^ Goodland, Robert; Anhang, Jeff (Nov–Dec 2009). "Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change were pigs, chickens and cows?". Worldwatch Magazine. Worldwatch Institute. pp. 10–19. S2CID 27218645.

External links[edit]