Veteran naturalist, documentarian and British national treasure David Attenborough has slammed eating free-range meat as “middle-class hypocrisy”.
Ahead of his upcoming new Netflix film, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, the BBC stalwart has admitted that he is “troubled” when he eats fish and chicken.
Coming from a person with a vast knowledge and first-hand experience of the natural world, the broadcaster’s opinion about the ethics of eating meat carry some weight.
In a world moving inexorably towards a plant-based future, Attenborough is on board with the imperative of reducing or eliminating meat from our diets, saying that he “couldn't remember” the last time he ate red meat, but that it was “years ago”.
However, the 93-year-old filmmaker and activist said: "I eat fish and chicken, and my conscience does trouble me. I'm affluent enough to afford free-range, but it's a middle-class hypocrisy."
“The planet can't support billions of meat eaters. If we all ate only plants, we'd need only half the land we use at the moment.”
Attenborough started an Instagram account this week in a bid to "save the planet" and amassed 1.2 million followers in a matter of hours.
According to Attenborough, wealthier nations must "give" in the wake of the pandemic and the time for "pure national interests" has passed.
“[The] Covid-19 pandemic has caused, and will continue to cause, immense suffering,” he said.
“If there is hope that can come out of it, then that may arise from the whole world having experienced a shared threat and found a sense that we are all in it together.
“The same unique brains and communication skills that fuelled the development of our civilisations now have access to technologies and institutions that allow all nations of the world to collaborate and co-operate should we choose to do so. If we are to tackle climate change, enable sustainable development and restore biodiversity, then internationalism has to be our approach.
“In doing so, we must bring about a greater equality between what nations take from the world and what they give back. The wealthier nations have taken a lot and the time has now come to give.”
He said the "consequences could be apocalyptic" after his generation "muffed it" on the environment.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet premieres in cinemas on 28 September, and will be available to stream on Netflix in October.
Promoting the film, Attenborough said: "Humanity is at a crossroads and I think the natural world is really under serious, serious threat."