Top Animal Rights Documentaries

Speciesism: The Movie (Amazon, Vimeo)
Modern farms are struggling to keep a secret. Most of the animals used for food in the United States are raised in giant, bizarre “factory farms,” hidden deep in remote areas of the countryside. … After watching Speciesism: The Movie, you’ll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans.

The Ghosts In Our Machine (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube)
The Ghosts In Our Machine illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world. Through the heart and photographic lens of animal rights photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur, audiences become intimately familiar with a cast of non-human animals. From undercover investigations to joyful rescue missions, in North America and in Europe, each photograph and story is a window into global animal industries: Food, Fashion, Entertainment and Research. The Ghosts In Our Machine charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic that most of humankind strives hard to avoid.

Earthlings (Vimeo, YouTube)
Earthlings is a documentary film about humankind’s total dependence on animals for economic purposes. Presented in five chapters (pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research) the film is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, featuring music by Moby, and was written, produced and directed by Shaun Monson.

Unlocking The Cage (HBO)
Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After thirty years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections.

Blackfish (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube)
Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.

The Ivory Game (Netflix)
The Ivory Game exposes the dark world of ivory trafficking. Ivory is a prized status symbol for middle class Chinese, and poachers in pursuit of “white gold” are slaughtering African elephants in record numbers.

The Cove (Amazon, iTunes, YouTube)
Academy Award® Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret.

The Elephant in the Living Room (iTunes, Netflix, YouTube)
Praised by critics as “One of the Best Films of the Year,” The Elephant in the Living Room takes viewers on a journey deep inside the controversial American subculture of raising the most dangerous animals in the world, as common household pets.

Death On A Factory Farm (HBO, YouTube)
Each year, ten billion animals are raised for consumption in the U.S., mostly on sprawling, industrialized farms, where virtually no federal laws mandate how the animals are treated – though guidelines exist – and state laws are ineffective…

Lucent (YouTube)
Through a combination of hand-held and hidden camera footage, Lucent explores the darker side of Australia’s pig farming industry, highlighting the day-to-day cruelty accepted by the industry as standard practice.

The Last Pig
The Last Pig is a lyrical meditation on what it means to be a sentient creature with the power to kill. Deeply immersive, the film follows a pig farmer through his final year of slaughtering pigs. Through sparse, intimate musings, the farmer reveals the growing conflict of a life spent “peddling in death.”

Sharkwater  (YouTube)
Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world’s shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.