Tom Pickering has a perfect riposte to the old joke about how to know someone’s a vegan (“they’ll tell you”, goes the tired punchline). He’s made a film titled after the phrase people on plant-based diets hear most in return: I Could Never Go Vegan (in cinemas now).

The film takes us through all the reasons offered, and patiently argues against them. Some are straightforward. If you think vegan diets lack protein or that eating red meat is ‘masculine’, then Pickering has some vegan athletes to introduce, as well as some eye-opening data about erections. He also clobbers concerns about taste and cost – though ingredient sourcing and meal prep does look more daunting for less skilled home cooks.

At least two farm assurance schemes won’t be pleased with this film. It shows what ‘free-range’ chicken farming looks like (only slightly better than cages), the grim reality of pig farrowing, and what happens when cows and calves are separated. Zoonotic disease and antibiotic resistance are discussed, before a bracing look at the process of slaughter.

Then there’s the effect meat has on the climate. Again, Pickering is persuasive, with the screen rarely absent of links to studies that back his claims. Yet he remains cheerful and doesn’t preach – leaving the firebrand stuff to contributors like George Monbiot – and chooses to end on some positives: the impact rewilding can have, and some sporting successes for his plant-powered pals.

It’s a comprehensive argument: the film deserves to be seen widely and engaged with thoughtfully.