Documentary Film: Vegucated
Three people. Six weeks. One challenge.
Vegucated is a 2011 American documentary film that answers the question of “Why go vegan?” in an entertaining, informative and compelling way, by following the lives of three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. At the start of the documentary, writer/director Marisa Miller Wolfson hits the streets of New York City with a camera and microphone to interview and find three willing suspects to take the vegan challenge. After being declined several times, she finds three enthusiastic volunteers—Brian, Ellen and Tesla. What they don’t know is how their lives are about to change from that day forward—forever.
Brian is the bacon-loving bachelor who joins the project to lose weight and improve his looks to bolster his budding acting career. Ellen is a single mom with two young kids, and relies heavily on prepared, packaged and frozen foods and doesn’t have time to cook. She joins the film project to lose weight and avert heart disease, which runs in her family. Then there’s young Tesla, a college student who lives with her meat-loving family, and doesn’t like vegetables or beans, and lacks any kind of family support for her endeavor.
All three seem to be lured into doing the film project to lose weight, improve their appearance and get healthier, but what comes as a surprise—is their personal awakening to the misery, pain and suffering that farm animals experience behind closed doors—in order for us to eat meat and dairy products. The three attend an undercover investigative film about the cruelty of factory farming and see first-hand how animals are treated like machines, and the suffering that they experience every day on these factory farms and in slaughterhouses. They watch painful procedures that are done without any anesthesia; and they see how females are forcibly inseminated to keep them pregnant and producing, exhausting their bodies and tormenting them; they see how male calves are slaughtered at birth or become veal calves for the veal industry; and they witness how female pigs are so confined in gestation crates that they cannot move, and they watch their babies being taken away from them 10 days after birth. Leaving the theater, one of the three responds, “Why didn’t I know about this? It’s really obvious that these animals experience so much pain and suffering.” Another reacts, “How can you walk away from this film and not be changed?”
The three pay a visit to a small family egg farm that markets itself as free-range and organic, but they’re horrified to discover the inhumane conditions the hens live in and the extremely poor condition of the birds’ health—and proceed to plot and steal two chickens that are about to be slaughtered. The next day, they take them to an animal sanctuary and feel better about saving two lives from “farm hell” and from being slaughtered. They visit an old abandoned slaughterhouse and imagine what it must have been like for the animals that were killed there when it was operating. Later they visit a hog farm, and as they walk onto the property, they are shocked to see three dead pigs in the back of a truck. The realities of industrial animal agriculture begin to take a toll on them as they witness the cruelty of the meat and dairy industry, and they begin to understand and accept the importance of a vegan diet.
The film sheds light on the disconnect between farm animals and the purchasing of meat and highlights the ethical, environmental and health benefits of a vegan diet. Vegucated inspires viewers to adopt healthier, more environmental and more humane food choices. It’s the perfect film to share with friends and family to explain why you’re vegetarian or vegan, or to become one!
- Brian – Lost 25 pounds, had a 30-point drop in blood pressure, and an 18-point drop in LDL cholesterol.
- Ellen – Lost 10 pounds and had a 20-point drop in LDL cholesterol.
- Tesla – Had a 26-point drop in LDL cholesterol and her blood pressure dropped 20 points.
From the Director, Marisa Miller Wolfson – Her Story
“That’s what happened to me, growing up in Indiana, loving pork chops and ridiculing vegetarians—or rather, the one vegetarian I knew (sorry, Lorena!) Then I moved to New York and saw a documentary about animal agriculture, and my whole perspective shifted. Within two months I was vegan, and within a year I had dropped 15 lbs and had the vegan lay of the land. I could tell you where to find the best Seitan skewers in NYC, and I could tell you that if you drove one hour in any direction from my childhood home, you could hit any one of 84 factory farms.”
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Take the Vegucated Challenge here. Get free tips and tricks for adopting a plant-based lifestyle.
Writer/Director/Editor – Marisa Miller Wolfson