The End of Meat (2017) Script

♪♪ There's beef.

There's pork and ham.

There's lamb.

Meat and eggs help the body grow and make it strong.

Meat is good for you...

It was just like...meat, meat, meat, meat and meat and more meat.

And man, they like meat!

It was like nonstop.

E. coli, salmonella, people getting sick, and I'm sure some people died from it.

Eating processed meat can cause cancer.

We can assure consumers that our beef is safe.

Rats, foxes, even minks are being fraudulently sold as beef or mutton.

Meat consumption is rising in many countries despite warnings.

This is the big elephant in the room that nobody's talking about.

It's very tasty.

Livestock contributes more to climate change than cars.

1.8 million hectares of the Amazon are cut down each year, 75% attributed to the expansion of cattle ranches.

Perhaps oneof the most shocking things about factory farms is that there's almost no one watching them.

Is this a sort of a cultural war right now?


For most of us, it was and is an integral part of the diet.

But recently, meat has lost its mythical status.

Once a symbol of prosperity and power, meat consumption has become problematic, for the planet and for ourselves.

Eating a steak or a burger is no longer a luxury, and we've gotten more and more disconnected from where our meat actually comes from.

Meat-free diets are a growing trend in Western countries.

Although this is not a new idea, plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular in Germany.

This made me wonder what the world would look like were we no longer eating animals.

And so I set out to connect with the pioneers of the vegan revolution in Germany, met with researchers examining the effects of a plant-based diet, traveled to the first vegetarian city in the world, learned about the lives of rescued farm animals, spoke with philosophers and lawyers working to have animals' interests considered, and talked to scientists developing meat-free future foods.

But first, I wanted to learn more about the origins of meat and our treatment of farmed animals.

Well, first of all, I was raised being taught that the domestication of other animals was a great thing for humanity and a great thing for animals.

But then over time,I came to learn that actually it was a lie, that other animals were captured, they were enslaved, they were biologically manipulated.

I thought they were desecrated.

In my work, I refer to that practice as "domesecration."

Once the domesecration of other animals started, men got on their backs and they began to go long distances, they began to use other horses as instruments of warfare and violence, raiding more sedentary peoples and killing people, enslaving them.

So, for example, when the Europeans invaded the Americas, they could only conduct that invasion through the use of horses as instruments of war and cows and pigs and sheep as laborers and as rations, and they needed land to grow more animals, to facilitate further invasion.

So the oppression of the other animals was deeply entangled with the fates of the indigenous peoples, as the more land that they needed for ranching, the more people were killed, their land was taken.

Once they cleared that land, then they developed railroads and began to transport these animals back to cities like Chicago and Cincinnati.

Large slaughterhouses begin to develop, then marketing firms begin to develop, and feed firms begin to develop, and banks began to get their share of this, and retail organizations begin growing and then fast-food organizations crop up.

Then we see the formation of this animal industrial complex.

There's a great political power, ideological power, and economic power, and they continue to drive increased consumption, all to garner profits for those in the industry.

So... domesecration has been horrific for the world and other animals, and it's time that we begin to stop that and changethe course of world history.

This is me at nine years old meeting a cow for the first time.

And this is me about to eat a cow.

Back then, I had no idea where the meat on my plate came from, and I wonder now why it took me so long to start questioning what, or rather whom, I was eating.

That's just the worst part of my job.

I got to come and go.

I got to go in and photograph and witness and experience the horror and the pain, but I got to leave.

And they don't get to leave.

I can complain about, you know, the smell on my clothes and the camera months later, but, like, they're in it all the time, that's their life.

That is the only thing that they experience in life, this.

This is where they live and this is where they will die, except for when they get put on a transportand go to slaughter.


But these things happen behind walls in these dark, horrible, stinky places, where no one's allowed to enter, where we get put in jail, we get arrested, we get charged if we enter these places.

There's a reason for that.

It's to protect the business because the business would fail if we knew.

My way of effecting change, as well, is storytelling.

People remember emotions and stories more often than they remember statistics, and so I tell stories about the individuals I've met around the world.

Bears rescued from bear bile farms, pigs rescued from factory farms.

Show the photos of Julia the pig, Sonny the calf, and Miracle the bear.

You could hear a pin drop when I'm doing these talks, and they're leaning forward in their chairs and they're engaged and it's because it's storytelling.

And then they go off and they share these stories.

Um, so things are getting worse in some places, but they're getting better in a lot of places as well.

We're seeing meat-eating growing in certain countries, but we're seeing it decline in other countries.

We're seeing laws changing, very much so in Europe.

Better welfare laws and all sorts of "improvements," but then enforcement is a problem.

I've been to plenty of farms where the laws have changed two, three years ago, and the farmers haven't implemented anything because the fine is less expensive than having to reformat their entire farm.

So I went undercover in an industrialized slaughterhouse because I was interested in understanding how massive processes of violence work in what we call modern civilized society.

Slaughterhouses, for the most part, are located far out of urban areas.

They're located in rural areas where the vast majority of urban consumers will never have to confront what takes place inside of them.

They're also hidden socially.

We delegate the work of killing to a group of people who have very little rights.

We also hide them linguistically, right?

Steers become steaks and heifers become hamburgers.

We hide places of violence.

We hide places of ugliness, so that we can continue to live as if they didn't exist, while still relying on their products in our everyday lives.

Two months into my fieldwork, six cattle escaped from a slaughterhouse up the street from the one that I was working in.

Three of them made an immediate run for the parking lot of Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

These cows were captured and taken back to the slaughterhouse, but one of the cows made a run down the main boulevard in Omaha and then took a turn into an alleyway.

The escape took place during the afternoon break for the slaughterhouse that I was working in, and me and some of the other slaughterhouse workers watched as the Omaha Police Department pursued this cow into an alleyway that ended in a chain-link fence bordering our slaughterhouse.

And when the police failed to herd her into a trailer, they opened fire on her with shotguns and killed her.

And the next day, the newspaper in Omaha featured this escape and killing on its front page, under the headline, "Freedom is fleeting for cattle in plant escape."

And in the lunchroom at the slaughterhouse, the workers expressed a sense of disgust and outrage at the killing of this one animal.

"They shot her just like they shot an unarmed man from Mexico last year,"

Julio, one of the quality control workers said.

And then the lunch period ended, and we all went back to our places on the kill floor where we proceeded to kill another 1,250 animals for the remainder of the day.

Social media has radically changed the distribution of information.

Images and videos highlighting the plight of farm animals are now reaching a global audience that is increasingly seeking transparency and knowledge surrounding the sourcing of their food.

A video by Toronto Pig Save activist Anita Krajnc made headlines worldwide when she was charged for giving water to thirsty pigs on a hot day outside a Toronto slaughterhouse.

Toronto Pig Save and the sister groups are about bearing witness.

And that is the idea that when there is injustice in your community, you need to be present and be there and try to help.

And so, for animals, the darkest place is a slaughterhouse.

So Toronto Pig Save holds vigils outside slaughterhouses.

Here comes the truck!

I know, babies!

I love you.

I think a lot of people felt hopeless before, saying, "Oh, it's never going to change. People are not going to stop eating meat."

And then they see these people doing vigils saying, "This is wrong, stop this."

They find that very empowering and encouraging.

I think if more and more people bear witness firsthand, it will change them, and they would not participate in violence against these animals if they saw the animals firsthand.

I have no doubt about it.

While in Toronto, I came across someone else who was changing hearts and minds and had a huge following on social media.

Her name is Esther the Wonder Pig.

One for you.

The story behind Esther is interesting.

She was a very unplanned and last-minute addition to our family.

We were duped, you know.

We were under the impression that she was a mini pig.

And, you know, man, there's nothing mini about her.

We'd fallen in love in a pretty crazy way.

The thought of getting rid of her was terrifying.

It was really, really upsetting.

I mean, we both knew in the back of our minds that we were gonna be on one hell of a bumpy road.

We didn't know it was gonna be a 500-pound road.

Yeah, I mean, but we love all of her.

You know, she can put on 500 more pounds and she's still welcome to do as she please.

You know, she's part of the family, and it's not her fault she got that big.

We created the Facebook page and it was just fun-loving photos of Esther, and then we threw it out to our family and friends, and within a day there was a hundred likes, and we were just like, whoa, like a hundred.

The next day it was 300 and the next day it was 500, 1,000, 2,000, 8,000, it just started going like clockwork.

And it was at 8,000... 8,000 likes.

We woke up and our phones were maxed out.

Somebody in Hong Kong had sent us a text.

She said, "You guys are in Hong Kong's biggest newspaper."

It was that moment that I was like, "Wow, like, what is going on?"

You have this lightbulb moment.

We had a lightbulb moment when we were cooking bacon on the stove, and Esther's five pounds at our feet, waiting for something to fall off the stove, and I was like, "Oh, my gosh," it just happened.

It was like this bulb. Can't do this.

Like, it just, it was a crazy moment, and, um... we never ate meat after that point.

It's all her. It's all her.

She's got this amazing ability to get into your head.

That's what's happening all over, you know, all around us, globally.

It's all over the world.

We hear from people all over the world.

Yeah, one of the most amazing signs of her intelligence was, usually, she'd go into the kitchen and she would open a door, try to pull food out, and just cause chaos, so she got in trouble every time, obviously.

And a few weeks in, you'd walk into the kitchen, you'd find a cupboard door open and nothing wrong.

What the hell is that? And you'd find a basket out on the floor, and, what is going on, you know?

And we finally figured out one day that it was her going in.

She'd open the cupboard and then she'd leave the room and leave it alone for a minute, and then she'd go back again a second later and she'd pull out whatever food she wanted, but she'd leave it on the floor, and then she'd leave again.

Then the third time in, she would go into the kitchen, grab the food and then run out of the kitchen, down the hallway to the bedroom with whatever it was she stole.

Uh, and, I mean, in our minds it was her breaking it down into individual steps and an individual process, increasing her chances of success, right?

She was quiet. She'd come back in and...

Check us out. Just to like, "Oh, it's normal, everything's fine."

Give you a false sense of security, and then go back in and just chaos ensues.

As hard as it was, it's been the most rewarding and, you know, amazing experience I think we've ever had and probably ever will have.

Who gets to live with a pig like that and have those experiences?

I mean, it was incredible, it was incredible.

Over human history, meat became this food for sharing and for celebrations.

This is why during festivities, usually in most cultures, you have meat at the center, as a centerpiece.

You have the Thanksgiving turkey for example, in the United States.

Meat was always important in that way.

It became so ingrained in our traditions in this kind of feeling of commonality, of sharing with other people, that it's hard to let it go as well for that reason, because if you say no to the Thanksgiving turkey, it's also saying, in a way, no to your traditions, to your family, to your friends.

Definitely cultures change slowly.

You see the meat industry is putting a lot of marketing and advertising and so on to keep up all this kind of symbolism that meat has, it lives on, especially, for example, for masculinity.

The land of bratwurst and schnitzel is renowned for its heavy reliance on meat.

Germans eat an estimated 60 kilograms, or roughly 132 pounds, of meat each, every year.

But scandals such as mad cow disease and wrongfully labeled horse meat have led to a loss of confidence in the industry.

Climate change, as well as the recurring images of animal mistreatment in factory farms led to a public debate about the animals on our plate, and suddenly plant-based diets were a newly found interest.

Presented to a health-conscious audience, vegan cookbooks that promised weight loss and wellness benefits were popping up on best-seller lists, attracting attention from mainstream media and beyond.

Plants are no longer a side dish but the creative and healthy main course.

Numerous vegan restaurants have cropped up all over the country and many more have added vegan options.

Supermarkets are stocking vegan products and the number of vegan cookbooks has grown exponentially, from only 23 in 2012 to 220 in 2016.

With the highest number of vegan restaurants and spearheaded by the world's first 100% vegan supermarket chain, Berlin has become the vegan capital of Europe.


I wondered how the vegan explosion in Germany had impacted the largest producer of tofu and meat alternatives in Europe:

Tofutown, formerly called Viana.

"The sausage is the cigarette of the future."

This quote by the CEO of Rugenwalder Muhle, a traditional sausage producer in Germany, caused a stir in the world of meat.

At the IFFA, the number one international trade fair for the meat industry, I was hoping to find out if this was indeed where this sector was heading.

We live during a time where our impact on the planet has become so destructive that, akin to other natural forces, humanity has become a global geophysical force in itself.

Scientists call this period the Anthropocene, the age of humans.

During our relatively short time on Earth, we have made a mark on our climate, our land, our air and our oceans.

It's a mark we continue making every day and which will be felt for generations to come.

Each year we breed, raise and kill

56 billion farmed animals.

This system is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, uses a third of all fresh water, occupies 45% of the Earth's total land, has destroyed 70% of the Amazon rain forest, and has become the greatest threat to biodiversity.

And while 11% of the world's population suffers from malnutrition, we feed half of the world's grain to animals slated for slaughter.

So what would happen if meat disappeared from the planet?

How could the end of meat affect the planet, the animals, and our own lives?

The global population is projected to grow to nearly 10 billion people by 2050.

As nations urbanize and citizens become wealthier, they consume more resource-intensive foods, such as meat and dairy, intensifying the already enormous burden on our ecosystems, the animals, our health, and perhaps especially the climate.

The most common indicator for humans' massive impact on the environment is the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

In London, I wanted to learn more about the relationship between meat and our climate.

Here at Chatham House we've been working on meat consumption and climate change and the interaction between the two for about two years now.

We recognize that the livestock sector is a major driver of climate change but one that's often overlooked.

So we wanted to try and explore why that's the case and what could be done to try and address this awareness gap in what we're calling the cycle of inertia, by which governments aren't taking action on a really critical issue.

We found in our survey of 12 countries that 83% of participants, respondents, recognize that human activity is a major driver of climate change, but only 30% recognize the livestock sector as a key driver.

That's really striking because we know that the livestock sector contributes 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is roughly equivalent to every vehicle on the planet, so we're talking about a major source here of which people aren't aware.

We don't learn about the climate impact of food production at schools, we don't see it on a day-to-day basis in the mainstream media.

Without tackling global overconsumption of meat, we will inevitably see dangerous levels of climate change, that we'll face more frequent supply shocks, so a situation in which crops fail and we have less food supply than we might otherwise expect.

In early 2016, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford released a study about the climate and health benefits of various diets.

The worldwide media response was enormous.

This was the first global study that estimated what would happen if we stopped eating meat and animal products altogether.

Previous studies have mostly looked at the environmental benefits of dietary change.

We modeled three dietary scenarios, diets that conformed to global dietary guidelines.

On top of this, we implemented two vegetarian scenarios, one which is a normal lacto-ovo vegetarian scenario and one vegan scenario, which doesn't include any animal products.

Continuing our diets from now to 2050 would mean a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

We project that greenhouse gas emissions would be increased by about 50%.

If people change from their expected diets to global dietary guidelines, then greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by about a third.

If people went to a vegetarian diet, that would increase to about two-thirds, and then if people even went to a vegan diet, that would result in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of about 70%, so more than two-thirds.

So the headline results of our study were that a move to more plant-based diets could reduce greenhouse gas emissions of up to two-thirds and result in reduced climate damages and reduced expenditure for healthcare-related services of $1.5 trillion.

So, this is gonna pass right through your digestive tract...

If a physician is practicing medicine in the West, in developed nations, the vast majority of patients that we are seeing and the litany of diseases they bring in are the result of them running a high fat, high animal protein, high sugar food stream through their bloodstream and their tissues, hour after hour, day after day.

We used to think that food just brings in calories for energy and proteins for structural building uses, but we now know that food brings in information.

It turns genes on and turns genes off, genes that stabilize your tissues, that suppress cancer growth, that suppress inflammation, and that's what whole plant foods do, as opposed to animal-based foods that stimulate growth hormones and processes that promote cancer growth, that are oxidizing agents that damage our tissues.

Oh, I have thought about the day when all Americans, all people around the world, are eating a plant-based diet.

A vast number of ill people in our country would dwindle down rapidly.

The trillions of dollars that we spend on just treating their symptoms, the surgeries not done and stents not placed and scans not ordered, the economics actually should drive this change in awareness as well.

So there's a lot of positive forces converging.

I'm just hoping we have enough time for this widespread knowledge to sink in and be acted upon by enough people.

The findings of our study with regards to health are that, if people change their diets to diets that would be in line with global dietary guidelines, then about five million lives could be saved.

If people went to vegetarian diets, that would increase to seven million lives saved, and if they went to vegan diets, that would increase to eight million lives saved.

So almost any major, um... region and country could expect large savings due to dietary change.

We indeed believe that governments have a major role to play by shaping the food environment that we are all in, for example, by mandating food labeling, taxing, for example, foods in regards to their greenhouse gas emissions, which would encourage the consumption of environmentally more sustainable foods and reduce the consumption of highly greenhouse gas emitting foods, such as animal products.

While I was researching the effects of meat consumption on biodiversity, I came across a quote that stuck with me.

"You eat a steak, you kill a lemur in Madagascar.

You eat a chicken, you kill an Amazonian parrot."

It was a comment made by a researcher on a study about the destruction of habitat for animal pasture and feed crops.

I met with the author of the paper in Miami, Florida.

Currently, there is a mass extinction, that's called the sixth mass extinction.

If you look at natural background rates of extinction occurring in the world, that's been going on for millions of years, we're at an accelerated rate, about a thousand times what natural background rates are.

Biodiversity, it's the fabric of life.

It's the enormous assemblage of animals and plants that exist on this planet that we barely understand right now.

Tropical countries are blanketed in this biodiversity.

It's very important for us to protect that, not only because of what we know about it right now but because of what we don't know about it.

We need to keep that around for future generations for them to discover and understand and develop products for human beings that are beneficial but also just for the right of life to exist and flourish and evolve in the future.

The strongest force driving extinction around the world is animal product consumption because it is responsible for the destruction of more habitats around the world than any other human activity.

If we look at the Amazon, which is the largest tropical forest in the world, it's the heart of biodiversity.

Over 75% of all the deforested land in the Amazon has been cut to produce livestock, either to directly put cattle on pasture that is grown there instead of the forest, or to plant soy or corn which is fed to livestock and nowadays shipped all around the world to feed livestock in other countries.

So the destruction of the Amazon has been driven by animal product consumption, period.

If everyone on the planet went vegan, that would free up an enormous amount of land to be used for other resources.

So one thing that could be done is restoring habitats to traditional natural ecosystems, connecting them together, creating corridors between endangered habitats.

At the same time, it could allow the development of biofuels on properties as well so that we could become more of a carbon neutral society.

There's a lot of innovation that could occur on those properties if we pull meat consumption and meat production off of those lands.

A diet rich in meat would require a 50% increase in global cropland area by 2050.

If the world went vegan in 2050, we would require less cropland than we did in the year 2000.

This would allow us to reforest an area around the size of the entire Amazon rain forest.

Pastures cover a quarter of our global land mass.

Bill Ripple, an ecologist from the University of Oregon, is researching what happens to pastures when animals no longer graze.

At the Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, the managers removed all the cattle in 1990.

We found a decrease of 90% in the amount of bare soil.

We found an increase in willow.

That increase is 388%, so that's significant because willow is an important biodiversity indicator for these streamside areas, because many species of plants and animals are correlated with the abundance of willow and aspen.

This is about a 70-centimeter diameter aspen tree, originated in the 1800s, before livestock arrived on Hart Mountain.

I think the importance of Hart Mountain here is because it's a rare case where we've documented what happens when cattle are removed from a landscape, what happens when cattle are removed from streamside areas.

Today, animal agriculture uses a big percentage of the land surface, and if that could be converted to more natural uses, I think biodiversity would increase in those cases where there's less grazing, less feed crop production.

One of the countries that featured frequently in my research was India.

In a few years, it will be the most populous country on Earth.

I kept wondering, what does a society look like when 32% of its population is vegetarian?

A staggering 400 million people in India don't eat any meat.

Followed by 80% of the population, Hinduism is the major religion of India.

Hindus advocate nonviolence and respect for all life, embracing vegetarianism.

Culturally, we havewhat I love to call a mild indifference towards animals, which is the reason you see animals all around you when you live.

You have your birds of all sorts are not getting shot down.

You have dogs, of course, you have cows.

Your monkeys in cities, you know.

We see ourselves more as a unified whole, where there is a place for all other elements of nature as well.

Cows in India are a common sight.

Around 50 million stray cattle and stray dogs roam the streets of India in search of food.

Once the provider for the family, cows are now seen by Hindus as a maternal figure, males and females alike sacred for their generosity.

The slaughter of cows is banned in most parts of India.

Violators of the ban may face up to ten years in prison.

People think that Indians treat cows as a holy animal, but the reality is far from it.

India is apparently the largest producer of milk in the world, so it comes as no surprise that India is also the largest exporter of beef and fifth largest exporter of leather products.

Because of the ban on cow slaughter, dairy owners use buffaloes, because, of course, buffaloes are exempted from this law.

There's another very small section of dairy owners who actually leave their animals on the road.

Now, one weird thing, that this concept of leaving animals free on the road is much better than the animals being in the dairy, but they don't have access to food and water, so they're left with no choice but to find food in garbage bins.

Most of these throwaway eatables are disposed of in a plastic bag which is tied.

These animals can't open the bag so they inevitably eat these bags along with the food items in it.

In the urban youth that is going to all these colleges, even the way these big corporates are coming to India and sort of targeting the youth, the consumption of non-veg is definitely rising in the urban elite youth who think it's cool or hip to sort of consume non-veg, to say that, "Oh, I'm being open-minded and liberal and saying I can have non-veg, it's a right."

As middle-class incomes grow with growing economy, that's when the consumption of luxury items increases, and cheese and dairy and more eggs and meats, including exotic meats is all a part of that continuum.

If we can simply hold steady the rate of growth of non-vegetarianism, that will be a big victory.

Palitana, a city in the state of Gujarat in northern India, made headlines in 2014 as the first vegetarian city in the world.

Also known as the city of temples, Palitana is one of the most holy sites to the Jains, an ancient religion said to be even older than Buddhism.

The Jain Dharma believes in nonviolence.

No birds, no animals, no insects, no human beings should be harmed.

Each and every living beings have the right to live.

You live and let live others.

Last hundred years... many slaughterhouses are allowed.

That's why it's our duty to stop them.

If they are not Jains, so what?

This is the holy place.

You can't kill any living beings.

You can't harm them.

All the monks of Palitana, we went to fast.

If Gujarat government will not stop the slaughtering, then we'll sacrifice our lives for the animals.

I announced, "If you want flesh, we will donate our meat, our own meat."

You cut us, you kill us.

So you eat of our flesh. You eat of our body.

A vegetarian zone was established in 1999, two kilometers along the main road leading to the temple hill.

In an area of 250 meters to each side, the sale of meat, fish, and eggs is banned by law.

The aim of the monks is to establish a larger zone within a nine-kilometer radius around the city.

All butchers, we took meeting here.

Approximately 80 to 90 butchers came here.

So we give them options that whatever your need is, we will help you.

We gave them money for change their professions.

The former butchers, who now had grocery and clothing stores, did not want to speak on camera, but they denied having received a compensation and said they felt ashamed of their former profession.

The Muslim community, which accounts for 25% of the city's population compared to only 3% Jains, was not happy about the ban and deemed their religious freedom had been violated.

When I discovered a backyard slaughterhouse, the meat had already been sold and the leftovers were fed to the dogs.

The butchers were suspicious and reluctant to talk, similar to the city officials who referred me to the district headquarters in Bhavnagar.

We trust on Lord Adinath that very soon the entire Palitana, holy city, vegetarian zone, vegetarian city.

And not only Palitana.

My wish is that whatever the missions going from Palitana, it should be whole, toward the entire world.

Whole world should be vegetarian.

In Mumbai, I wanted to learn more about Jainism and got in touch with Pramoda Chitrabhanu, a vegan Jain.

I met her in the district of Malabar Hill, one of the most posh residential areas in Mumbai and an exclusively vegetarian neighborhood.

Ahimsa is the center of this philosophy because in 599 BC, Lord Mahavira, who was the last apostle of the Jain religion, he said that those who disregard and disrespect the existence of life in earth, water, fire, air, vegetation, and all life forms, disregards and disrespects his own existence because all life are intertwined with each other.

The best means to stop these people from eating meat would be through educating.

Education is the only way.

I don't think so by stopping and burning the slaughterhouses, all those things.

And to stop that, one has to go out and educate them, talk to them, make them understand why we are talking about this, make them understand that animals are not a commodity.

My experience in India left me wondering what our cities and communities could look like if we no longer viewed animals as commodities.

In Leipzig, I met with artist Hartmut Kiewert, who envisions a very different way of living with animals.

During my research, I came across the "Zoopolis," a term describing an environment in which humans and animals not only coexist but also thrive alongside one another.

The idea of Zoopolis arose from the idea that urban theory, ideas about the city and how cities work, were really only about people, and when I started thinking about, "Well, who actually lives in cities?" it was clear that, and it is clear that, there's a lot of nonhumans that live in cities, and so I wanted to create what I called a transspecies urban theory, and also a transspecies urban practice in which built environment professionals...

Environmental designers, architects, planners, landscape architects, engineers...

Actually thought about nonhuman residents of cities as well as human inhabitants and their needs.

But I think it raises the question of how do you include animals in a democratic decision-making process, in a discourse of citizenship, in a way that makes their... needs and wants and desires part of the conversation?

Two Canadian philosophers turned the concept of the Zoopolis into a radical claim, going so far as to consider animals our co-citizens.

While most animal rights philosophers call for a separation of the world's humans and animals, Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson believe that a shared world is possible.

If we look around just out the window here, we see all kinds of animals who make their homes in our cities, our communities, our houses, and the idea that we could somehow live separately from animals and avoid domination and exploitation that way is completely unrealistic.

Yeah, so we distinguish three categories, or three broad patterns, of relationships.

So domesticated animals we think should be seen as members of our society, and the way in which we affirm membership is through citizenship.

So we should think of domesticated animals as our co-citizens, and that means, like other citizens, they would have the rights to protection from harm, rights to health care, rights to political representation to have their interests taken into account.

And, of course, the right to live here and rights of residency.

The second category concerns animals who continue to live independently of humans on their own habitat.

So there's not much wilderness left in this world, we keep conquering and colonizing, so we recognize rights of territory and the rights of wilderness animals to live autonomously on their territory.

And in political theory, we bundle these rights to territory and autonomy under the idea of sovereignty, so we should think of wild animals as having sovereignty rights over themselves and their territory.

And the third category, which is in some ways the least studied, the least theorized in the animal rights debate, concerns the nondomesticated animals who live amongst us.

So, urban wildlife, to simplify it.

Crows, pigeons, ducks, mice, squirrels.

So in our view, we need to recognize that these animals live amongst us, and so they have residency rights and we need to learn to coexist.

So they have rights to be accommodated in this shared space.

But that's a looser kind of relationship than with citizenship, and so we call that "denizenship."

So, so long as we are committed to the idea that we're going to be living together with at least some domesticated animals, what we want is a way of framing that relationship that imposes on us an obligation to be responsive to them, to the animals, and that's what we view citizenship as doing.

It was difficult to picture a world with animals as our co-citizens.

But there were already tiny communities where this idea didn't seem too far from reality.

German author and activist Hilal Sezgin moved from the city to the countryside and unintentionally adopted a herd of sheep.

Hmm, she's due for a family walk.

I heard that someone else had traded life in suburbia for the countryside.

Esther the Wonder Pig.

Through a crowd-funding campaign, Steve, Derek and Esther founded a farm sanctuary just outside of Toronto.

So Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary is 50 acres, and half of it is treed and the other half is fields.

We had an Indiegogo fundraising campaign, and in 60 days, we raised $450,000.

So this is the forest paddock.

And... here's someone living a dream.

Here's Leonard.

There's a gate up there that allows him to get into that area from behind the barn and into the barn, so he can go wherever he wants.

You know, pigs in the wild will travel six to eight miles in a day.

The second we opened up the gate for the big pigs to come into the woods, they were like, "What?" You know, "This is awesome!"

I love seeing the pigs in the woods just chill, like Esther when she's walking through the woods.

She's just in her element, she's so happy.

The idea behind a sanctuary is to just let the animals be themselves.

It's really neat to see an animal come here all on their own, you know, just one, and see how they start integrating in and creating friendships with different animals and cross-species where everybody fits in.

You know, not everybody gets along, and we recognize that too, and they don't have to, 'cause there's two sides to the fence.

They can be on that side or they can be on this side.

It's just about recognizing the needs for them.

The idea of farm sanctuaries is to provide a safe haven for animals that were rescued or escaped from factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Here, they are cared for and given the opportunity to behave as naturally as possible in a protective environment.

I was wondering what the people who are running these sanctuaries had learned from living so closely with farmed animals over the years.

Farm Sanctuary started back in the mid 1980s to combat the abuses of factory farming, and we started by investigating farms and stockyards and slaughterhouses.

We'd find living animals literally thrown in trash cans or on piles of dead animals.

We started rescuing them and we were selling vegan hot dogs at Grateful Dead shows to fund the work.

And we now have three sanctuaries, one in New York, two in California.

The first animal farm sanctuary rescue was Hilda, who was a sheep, who was left on a pile of dead animals behind a stockyard.

The maggots were so thick, you could hear them buzzing as they devoured these carcasses.

And out of this pile, a sheep lifts her head.

And we were stunned that a living animal would be discarded like garbage this way.

And we picked her off the dead pile thinking she would have to be euthanized.

But as the veterinarian started looking at her and examining her, she started perking up and then she stood up, and she lived a good, long life.

And ultimately all of us, human beings and other animals, want to live a good, long life, and farm animals are not given that opportunity.


Animals at farm animal sanctuaries behave very differently than if you were to meet them out on a farm.

Many of these animals are incredibly resilient and they've lost their fear of people, and that allows people to see their personalities.

We had these three turkeys, Boone, Alphonso and Hershel, and so in the early days, they would follow us everywhere, when we were doing tours and taking people around.

And sometimes you can tell it's like a wife has brought her husband and her kids, and she's the one who has compassion in her heart for animals and she's trying to expose her family to it.

We see this a lot.

So this father was walking around, and you could tell he just sort of kept to himself and had his hands in his pockets and was sort of marveling and laughing and smirking at the turkeys as they would follow around, and if the kids would laugh or clap their hands, the turkeys would respond.

But at the end of the tour, I looked over and he was petting Hershel's head, and then he sort of squatted down and he was face to face with Hershel, and I saw like a tear stream down his face, and he said to his kids that he was wrong all these years and that he was so resistant to his wife, their mother, and that he never realized that they could be so friendly and that they had such unique personalities and that he could ever find himself being so fond of a turkey.

It is the first open day of the year at Friend Animal Rescue in Kent, England.

I came here to learn how visitors interact with farmed animals at a sanctuary.

When I first turned up here, I was a committed meat eater.

And I met Marion.

I just saw this little woman here on her own with all these pigs and cows and sheep and horses, just caring for them, feeding them and watering them.

I was just like, wow, it was like a Disney cartoon.

It inspired me.

I firmly believed I had to eat meat.

And on the premise, really, if I didn't, I would get sick, possibly die.

So when she was explaining to me about the industry, the farmed animal industry and what happens, they're slaughtered so young, for example.

Most of them are babies, under a year old.

You kind of... I got defensive, I think a lot of people did.

You like carrots, don't you?


There's only so many farmed animals because people choose to eat them.

When you start meeting these animals, it brings out a softer side, and I think you have to be very, very kind of fix minded or very almost brutal to suddenly meet these animals and decide, "I could just carry on eating them."

It affected me big-time, to such an extent, not only did I become vegan, I ended up staying 15 years, marrying Marion, and it changed my life forever.

So that would be a very good example of what this place does.

The Erdlingshof, a small sanctuary in the Bavarian forest, has a special focus on male cows who are rescued from the dairy industry.

Sanctuaries provide a sort of aspiration to the kind of world we could create, one where the animals live with us and we live with them, and nobody has to be afraid of anybody because we're not killing and eating them.

Now, there are also animals that are carnivores, and that creates some challenging situations for somebody with a vegan mindset.

But at the end of the day, certain animals don't have a choice.

Lions cannot live on plants.

Human beings do have a choice.

We can live and we can thrive eating plants instead of animals.

The role of animals in society has evolved dramatically.

We've learned a lot about animals' cognitive abilities and social development.

Pigs, for example, share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent species, yet the law still considers all animals mere things.

There are laws affecting all animals.

Within the United States, we have the Animal Welfare Act.

Sadly, though it's called the Animal Welfare Act, it doesn't cover farm animals, so it doesn't cover 99% of the animals in industrial use in the United States, and there are other important exceptions as well, but let's face it, that's the big exception.

It's all the animals, basically, from a statistical point of view.

All the animals are farm animals, they're not protected by federal law.

For hundreds of years, there's been this high, thick legal wall, and on one side of that are all the legal things and the other side are the legal persons.

If you take a snapshot in 2015, all the nonhuman animals of the world are on the thing side and all the human beings are on the person side.

It wasn't always that way.

Two hundred years ago, women might have been things.

Slaves were things, children were things, but right now, all nonhuman animals are things and all humans are persons.

And the work of the Nonhuman Rights Project, especially the initial goal, is to break through that wall and begin bringing as many nonhuman animals as possible through that wall from the side of the things to the side of the persons.

Things are slaves and slaves are things.

When humans were slaves, they were treated horrendously.

Nonhumans are slaves, they're treated horrendously as well.

And if they're not treated horrendously, like my dog Yogi who's running around here, he's not treated horrendously at all.

He's a very happy dog.

But it's really because I want to treat him that way.

If I want him killed, he would be killed.

If I want to do something to him that doesn't amount to cruelty, I could do something to him.

And that's not right.

Any lawyer working for social change will tell you that the law usually follows society and not the other way around.

And what we've seen over the last few decades is that society has made tremendous strides in understanding that animals are deserving of our compassion and our respect.

We now know that, in all the ways that matter, animals are just like us.

They feel fear, they feel pain, but they also experience joy and positive emotions.

One meaningful legal change that we can make for animals tomorrow is to give them the right to have someone represent their interests in court.

Obviously animals can't speak for themselves, and in that respect they're just like children or incapacitated people who have special advocates who go to court for them.

We could set up the same system for animals so that lawyers can go speak on behalf of animals, represent their interests and ensure that they're protected.

As people become more concerned, there will be more regulation.

Then the products will become more expensive, the use will be reduced.

I don't think there will ever be a law against eating meat, but I think that the day will come when it will become socially unacceptable.

I don't see... I think that it's so interesting that 98% of this country eats meat.

It seems very unlikely that we could pass a law prohibiting it at this point, and yet even at this very moment, they're nervous that that could happen, that their meat will be taken away from them.

I don't see that that's the way that the law will evolve.

I do see it as the way that society will evolve.

I do see that the law will evolve to get more and more strict in its regulation of the industries.

The number of plant-based alternatives is growing, with taste and texture growing ever closer to actual animal products.

But there is something else making headlines around the world: cultured meat.

The same technique used to grow human tissue in regenerative medicine is now used to produce meat without killing animals.

In August of 2013, the first hamburger grown in a lab was presented to 200 journalists from around the world in London.

Financed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, the cost of the patty was estimated to be 250,000 Euros.

Okay, everyone sitting here with bated breath is dying to see what's underneath the cloche, so can you do the honors and lift the lid on your creation?

I can.

Okay. Now, obviously...

Why do we need cultured meat?

It's basically because none of the substitutes so far have been sort of capable of completely mimicking the meat experience, if you like.

Uh, and in my mind, people want meat and not meat substitutes, unless the meat substitute at some point becomes so good that you cannot distinguish them from the real thing.

Uh, we, uh...

Better food security for the entire population.

Less impact on the environment.

And less animal welfare issues.

Those are the three major concerns.

And for those important reasons, I really hope that at some point we can deliver a product, so that people can still eat their beloved meat without the negative consequences.

We use cells from a cow.

We harvest them through a harmless procedure, and they have cells... we all have cells in our muscles...

That are sitting there waiting to repair an injury.

And they have the capacity to multiply, so we take them out of the cow, expand them in the lab until we have 40 billion cells.

And we do it in a particular way so that they form real muscle fibers, and that's the basis for our meat.

So if you have a lot of those muscle fibers, we can basically make a hamburger out of them.

Apart from meat, I learned that there were also a number of startups working on other cultured products to replace their animal-derived counterparts in the near future.

The mission of New Harvest is to accelerate the post-animal bio-economy.

So we're trying to build a whole new economy where animal products are made without animals, and New Harvest's role is in providing that initial catalytic step that helps researchers get a first amount of data done or a first prototype done so that once they have that prototype, other investors and other funders will get involved.

Cultured meat is getting a cell and then dividing the cell.

So there's no reason for GMO to be involved at all in the production of cultured meat.

Cultured meat will not come from a lab.

The actual vision of this future is one that looks like a brewery, and you go to a brewery and you see these gigantic stainless-steel tanks, and you don't perceive the brewer as a scientist, you think of him as an artisan or a crafts person.

You know, I've been combing the comments of cultured meat and cultured milk and cultured egg articles for a long time, and a lot of people are like, "Well, if this tastes as good, then how could I choose something that came from a slaughtered animal if what my experience is is the same?"

In San Francisco, several companies are working on animal products without the animal.

Indie Bio is a startup accelerator for synthetic biology.

Backed by a venture capital fund, companies that join the program receive a quarter million dollars and the lab space to reach a prototype in just four months.

Indie Bio is an accelerator for early stage biotechnology companies.

The vision was to create something totally new.

We think we can use biology to replace animals, so instead of domesticating animals, we're domesticating cells.

And we're really focusing on a new paradigm in producing the foods and goods that people want, without the environmental or ethical aspects of using animals.

We're making gelatin without the animal.

So there are a litany of consumer goods that contain gelatin that many people don't realize, in everything from yoghurt to gummi bears, industrial applications, medicines.

So the approach that we're taking is to engineer microbial factories that can make the same exact gelatin that people would get out of animal tissues, but instead of taking it from an animal and doing it in a top-down approach, we're building it from scratch with stuff like yeast.

How long will it take? Are we talking about five years?

Are we talking about ten years? I hope it's five, when we see the last animal product taken off the shelf and replaced with a biologically derived, clean version of that product, whether it's meat or whether it's milk or whether it's eggs.

Not far away, in a space for DIY biology, a group of biohackers is working on what most people say they could never give up: cheese.

Real Vegan Cheese is a project to basically make cheese that is exactly like cow's milk cheese, or any other animal cheese, but make it without using animals.

And so the way we do this is we search databases that give us the sequence of DNA which encodes for the proteins in milk.

We then take that information and go to a synthesis service that makes us that snippet of DNA.

We put it into yeast.

That yeast then starts producing that protein.

So now these yeasts are sort of like our dairy.

Sort of like, instead of milking cows, we're actually just getting these proteins out of the yeast.

This is important because these proteins are what give milk all of its really interesting properties and what gives cheese the properties that you associate with cheese.

Things like meltability, stretchability, that texture.

Those proteins are the most important thing.

So that's what the project is.

It's taking yeast and making these exact same proteins so we can make real cheese which is also vegan.

What we get out, if we do our job well, is exactly like what the cows produce.

The protein is identical.

So once it's purified, this is not genetically modified.

It's a natural product.

So our future plans, once we can make cheese out of our yeast-cultured proteins, are to file intellectual property, file a patent on this, but then abandon it, so that it is in the public record, it is prior art but we don't own any rights to it.

You could imagine that if someone like, uh... someone who is also involved in the dairy industry directly, if they developed this and owned all the IP, they could make a few products just for vegans but they could preventsomeone else from pushing it far enough that it would challenge their existing business.

So we don't want someone who has an interest in dairy continuing to own all of the rights to this.

If it's open source, no one can do that.

While I was researching future foods, I came across a recent discovery by scientists from the University of Oregon.

They said they had found the unicorn, an algae that is healthier than kale and when deep fried, tastes like bacon.

We started out with about 40 or so ideas.

And today I have three of the five that we tested.

This here is a rice cracker. These are going to be a little bit more savory and bring out a little bit of that umami taste that's in the seaweed.

And then this is just kind of an interesting way to use a bit of the salt that you would find in kind of those ocean tastes.

Dulse is a bit of a novel ingredient that many people in America aren't very familiar with, outside of sushi or seaweed salads.

So it's nice to kind of be at the forefront of getting this ingredient into kind of the mainstream.

You know, in 2025, there will be 7 1/2 billion people on Earth.

And every human being needs roughly 50 grams of protein a day to live, so the world's gonna demand 400 million grams of carbohydrates a day.

And we figured out that, at least with this dulse, if we had a 25 by 25 mile stretch in the ocean off the Oregon coast, we could grow enough protein to feed the world, just like that.

So the potential is extremely large.

Uh, well, people got very interested in the dulse story because of its link to bacon, and the fact that it has some of the flavors of bacon and is also nutritionally much better for you than bacon, it doesn't have the cholesterol and the high-fat content, makes it very appealing to people.

Ah, how are the dulse looking?

Ah. Looking good.

Yeah. That's fantastic.

Bubbling away.

So these are our 6,000-liter tanks.

So we're hoping to produce about 30 pounds of dulse per week from these tanks.

What we found with dulse is that it grows vegetatively.

So what you can do is you can basically break a plant apart and each piece will grow into a new plant.

So it's very, very easy to grow, and this is one of the great benefits of this type of cultivation.

It has a good protein content, high iodine, high potassium.

And so in many respects, it is a superfood.

It has a lot of potential, I think, in the long-term future as an alternative to some of these other terrestrial crops, and also an alternative to meat.

So the amino acid profile is pretty good, and it has the savory flavor, so I think there's a very good potential for it.

So, what we are doing, we are taking a small sample from a cow.

Use its muscle-specific stem cells that have sort of a limited capacity to proliferate.

That means that we have to go back to the cow after a certain period and get new stem cells.

And then it's not a completely animal-free product, but I don't really think that's that important.

Maybe for vegans it is, but for most people, it may not be.

Still we would be able, and that's obviously the condition, we would be able to reduce the total number of cows tremendously.

Even if it will not reduce energy consumption, then it will still reduce methane emission, so it will still have an effect on our greenhouse gas emission.

But we are more ambitious than that.

We really want to reduce energy consumption as well.

I'm saying that there's nothing in it, but that's not completely true.

There is...

Oh, this is just a small-scale cell culture, but it's tiny.

Tiny muscle rings in these little wells.

We are never, with this cultured beef program, are never going to be as efficient and as friendly to the environment or to animals as a vegetarian or a vegan diet.

We will never achieve that level of efficiency.

So if vegetarians and vegans start to eat this, that's sort of the opposite of what my goal is in this whole endeavor.

The target group is pretty much myself, the people who are stubbornly eating meat, while knowing that they probably should not.

If at some point we are capable of producing exactly the same tissue, exactly the same sort of sensory quality of meat, at a competitive price, I think it will eradicate traditional livestock meat production.

It's absolutely imperative that people recognize that one of the worst practices ever developed on the planet was this consumption of other animals for food and using them for resources, and we're never going to get our societies back on track unless we step back from that practice, and we can begin to do that, first of all, by changing the way that we eat.

Nothing serious is going to change until there's just a catastrophe that forces us to change.

And my best guess, it would be something related to the...

It could be an issue about tainted food, but more likely it's going to be an environmental catastrophe that we just realize that we're killing the planet, and then... we'll be forced to engage in some radical rethinking, not because we suddenly care about animals but just because we're destroying our own existence.

Reflecting on my search for a post-meat world, the resource-intensive methods of animal production seem outdated, especially in the light of the challenges we'll face in the near and far future.

What we eat has tangible consequences, for the world around us and for the trillions of nonhuman animals.

The end of meat as we know it might just be the best solution we have to save ourselves, the animals and the planet.

Of course, if we're talking about stopping meat overnight, that would be a problem because overnight we'd have lots of people going jobless.

But the truth is that all industries evolve.

Everything changes.

If you talk to people about cars coming, for example, everybody would be worrying, what's going to happen to the horse carriages?

Right? But it doesn't happen overnight, thankfully, and everybody adapts.

There is a vision of the future that doesn't include the exploitation of animals.

You don't get somewhere unless you envision it.

And people really seem to have trouble envisioning this world without animal exploitation.

We've always done it, so we'll always continue to do it.

But if you take a step back and look at where technology is, what we do to animals is just insane.

The first time I had visited a farm animal sanctuary, blew my mind.

There was nothing like it.

I could not believe, not only what I was learning at the time about the sheer number of farmed animals who suffer and who are killed for human consumption, but then to get to know them and to realize that these are the individuals who make up those statistics, and the statistics can be staggering, but it's even more overwhelming when you get to know the victims.

And that affects me to every cell of my being, because this is the social justice movement of our times.

It affects the most number of beings.

Twenty years from now, we will look back with a completely different perspective and our kids will say to each other, "Well, you know, in the days of our parents, they still killed animals for our food supply."

And they will probably look at that as sort of barbarian.