Explained: The Future of Meat

Explained is a 2018 documentary series, original from Netflix. Every week, there are short episodes that focus on different topics. Given its relevance, climate change and sustainability productions are also topics present in this docu-series. The episode “The Future of Meat” looks at what is coming for the meat industry and its consequences for planet earth: every 10 seconds humans kill roughly 24 000 animals for food, which is an estimated 75 billion per year.

The episode explains to us the evolution of meat production, from innovations in the way we consume it to clarify why people crave to eat meat so much. We have always been used to incorporating animals in our food diet and the truth is that, as the social psychologist Melanie Joe mentioned, “agribusiness animal makes it easier for us to distance ourselves from the reality of who we’re eating when we’re eating animals”.

Two more sustainable options are explored throughout the episode: plant-based and cultured meat, a type of meat production based on the animals’ cells, without actually killing them.

From an academic point of view, environmental documentaries can have the ability to expand environmental worldviews by educating on a specific issue to create a call to action on behalf of the ecological or social cause (Lindsey A., 2019). This documentary series urges its audience to assess how future generations will satisfy their craving for meat, in order to show that vegan options don’t just look like meat, but can actually be as tasty as regular meat.

The series draws attention to the fact that the problem is no longer a lack of options, but a question of the mindsets of our society. Not everyone is willing to put the meat aside that easily, and so the project aims to raise awareness to put the environment first rather than our desires, because “people need to wake up to the idea that animals take a very heavy toll on our lives in the environment” (Paul Rozin, 2019).