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'Sacred Cow' review: Smart documentary plays it a little too safe

Movie Reviews

‘Sacred Cow’ review: Smart documentary plays it a little too safe

To eat or not to eat

In one sense, Sacred Cow is a courageous documentary. There are plenty of arguments about why people should not eat meat. On the other side, vegans have somehow become a punchline and target. Narrated by Nick Offerman, the film does not do either. In its opening moments, Sacred Cow dismisses it is going to be a documentary that disavows eating meat. It also becomes clear very quickly it is not going to be an all out attack on those who do not eat it.

Transparency is a big part of Sacred Cow. This is not a propaganda piece a la The Simpsons. This means director Diana Rogers is willing to show uglier parts of the meat industry. These moments are not an attack but are shown as areas of opportunity. This also means the documentary will prove to be very polarizing since people take what they eat very seriously.

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Whether it is intentional or not, Sacred Cow does set up dietary debates. One of the key points to the film is how there is a way to humanely store and slaughter animals. This is important since it is not so much the killing of farm animals but the inhumane living conditions that bother some people. The documentary arms audiences with other bits of information, though the discussions do tend to rely too much on the “not eating meat does not provide enough nutrients” argument.

While Sacred Cow does not demean those that have cut meat out of their diet, it does take what some will consider a disappointing middle ground. The documentary is an interesting one mixing in with facts with questions of morality. One highlight is a farmer discussing how a person who eats meats should realize they are eating what was once an animal.

It would seem the underlying theme of the film is not to eat more meat, but to eat it wisely. As one person puts it, it is not about eating red meat but what you eat it with. This would carry more weight if it did not immediately follow a lengthy segment with a former vegan discussing the health problems she incurred after changing to a no meat diet. It is this reluctance to take one stance or another that weakens an otherwise very intelligent documentary.

Sacred Cow comes to On Demand and DVD January 5

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