Orca in captivity

5 Documentaries That Will Inspire You to Protect Animals



These five animal documentaries will educate you on animal welfare issues and open your heart to helping animals around the world!

1. Blackfish

Perhaps the most well-known animal documentary in recent memory, Blackfish documents the life of Tilikum, an orca who made headlines after killing his trainer, and argues the case against keeping marine mammals in captivity.

Known as the “BlackFish Effect,” this documentary sparked a dramatic shift in the public's sentiment, decreasing the acceptability of keeping these intelligent and sensitive orcas captive for entertainment and the cruelty that goes along with it.

Blackfish is available on Netflix, so make some popcorn, get into your comfiest sweats, and queue it up this weekend.

Once you’ve finished watching, it’s time to take action. You can help continue the fight against marine mammals in captivity by spreading the message that thousands of captive whales, dolphins and other marine mammals are still suffering in 2019.

2. Forks Over Knives

Living a more plant-based lifestyle and reducing your meat intake is beneficial for your health AND for animals

Forks Over Knives shows us that choosing a 'fork over a knife' in most instances will help eliminate the suffering of billions of animals trapped in factory farms.

Not only will this documentary make you rethink what animal products you buy, it also highlights the positive health aspects of eating more plant-based foods.

Specifically, the documentary talks about controlling or helping to eliminate some dieseases by what you eat and can help you shift to a more flexitarian diet.

Definitely check out this film before writing your grocery list this week!

3. An Apology to Elephants

Released on Earth Day in 2013, An Apology to Elephants reveals the cruel reality behind the "family-friendly" circus acts.

Like Blackfish, An Apology to Elephants exposes the brutal treatment these intelligent and sensitive creatures endure as they are trained for performances and explores the psychological trauma they suffer in captivity. 

The film also highlights several organizations working to rescue and provide sanctuary for elephants who were abused in the circus industry.

While many circuses no longer use elephants in performances or have folded their tents, elephants are still be carted around the United States and abused for mere moments of entertainment.

A must-watch for all elephant lovers, this documentary will inspire you to fight until every circus goes animal-free.

4. Racing Extinction

Directed by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos, Racing Extinction follows a team of artists and activists as they uncover the hidden world of extinction and the international wildlife trade.

Wildlife trade - whether legal or illegal - is putting global wildife at risk.

For example: Each year, millions of wild animals are poached from their natural habitats or born into captivity, just to become pets.

If you’re interested in protecting wild species around the world, this documentary will help you gain a better understanding of the urgency to act.

5. The Cove

Last, but certainly not least, is Psihoyos' breakout documentary, The Cove - one of the most shocking animal documentaries ever created.


The Academy Award winner for “Best Documentary Feature” in 2009, The Cove exposes a secret practice that local Japanese fishermen take part in: the brutal slaughter of dolphins in a secluded cove in Taiji, Japan.

While this documentary is educational and riveting, it does not shy away from the brutality of how these dolphin families are ripped apart and killed.

Before going to any venue that has captive dolphins, watch this documentary.

Trust us: those dolphin selfies are not worth it.

What can I do to help?

If you've seen the above documentaries and are now wondering "What can I do to help?" - don't worry.

There is so much you can do from signing petitions, committing to animal-friendly pledges, and volunteering.

No action taken to protect animals is too small.

Check out our "Take Action" page to see how you can get involved today.

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