In 2014, an original Netflix documentary called Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret was released with Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn as the producers and directors. I watched this not too long ago, but I thought I’d watch it again and share 16 tidbits that had me flabbergasted and sliding down my seat in discomfort: 


  1. The agriculture industry creates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector. 
  2. The leading cause of resource consumption and environmental degradation is animal agriculture. 
  3. Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas uses 100 billion gallons of water every year in the USA. Raising livestock uses 34 trillion gallons of water every year in the USA. 
  4. Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon’s destruction. 
  5. Animals used to free roam and make up the majority of the living population on earth. Now, free-living animals only comprise 2% of the total animal population, with the rest owned by humans.  
  6. The leading cause of deforestation is caused by agriculture and the clearing of land to make room for livestock and grazing, growing soybeans as agricultural feed, and more. 
  7. “There is no such thing as sustainable fishing.” 
  8. An acre of rainforest is cleared every second for animal agriculture. 
  9. Over 1,100 people protesting and advocating for protection for the Amazon in Brazil were killed by forces hired by the cattle industry. 
  10. Founder and former director of Greenpeace Alaska, Will Anderson, said, “Environmental organisations are not telling the truth,” whilst the current Greenpeace directors refused to speak to Kip.  
  11. “Cow farts.” Yes, methane is produced from cow excrement, alongside deforestation and resources used to farm the animals. Overall, this process contributes more waste than humans do to climate change – 130 times more than the entire human population. 
  12. “If their environment wasn’t raised to breed, they shouldn’t be eating beef.” 
  13. “Grass-fed beef is even more unsustainable than factory-fed farming.” 
  14. If we reduce the amount of dairy we eat, we could allow the mono-cropped genetically engineered farming of soybeans and corn to revert to the forest again and become the animal habitat once more. 


The documentary is an hour and a half of confronting, wild information that has you wanting to be vegan by the end. Although these facts are mostly from the 2000s and would’ve definitely changed by now, they still pose the important question of what we are doing for good old Mother Earth. 


*authors note: after the documentary’s release, many facts, including the accusation of lying for these environmental organisations, were disputed. In this case, consider the sources of all facts before forming opinions.  


Sami Peters

Sami Peters

Hi, I’m Sami Peters and I am the Environment and Global Change Reporter for Opus. I study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and Writing. I love reading, writing, dancing, and the beach. I have a lot of passions but to combine two of my favourites: the environment and writing… that’s the dream.