Natalie Portman is using her superstar status to promote veganism and sustainability, following the US release of her new documentary Eating Animals.
Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week, Ms Portman revealed that she’s been vegetarian since age 9, and has maintained a vegan lifestyle for the last seven years.
The 37-year-old actress explained that her decision to ‘go vegan’ was driven by both ethical and health concerns:
“Well it’s both and it’s sort of what the movie goes into. A lot is factory farming which is 99% of how all animals – and dairy, eggs included – are raised, in really awful conditions. But also it’s the number one source of pollution, more than cars or anything else.”
Ms Portman produced and narrated Eating Animals, which was also directed by award-winning documentarian Christopher Quinn.
Though the documentary offers an eye-opening perspective on factory farming, Ms Portman says the primary goal is to make viewers more aware of their food choices.
“Even if you’re not going to make a complete lifestyle change, just be more conscious. If everyone did it we’d be a lot better.”
Based on the best-selling 2009 book by Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals includes interviews with Americans farmers who support so-called sustainable agriculture.
“The movie really focuses on good farmers who are doing it right, but who aren’t able to work within the system…
It’s a really, really small percentage that are doing it right – so how can we as consumers demand that there’s more of that and less of the factory farm stuff?”
Ms Portman believes that documentaries like Eating Animals signal a change in consumer attitudes towards factory farming, that will only continue to grow.
“You know, the way that we can look back now on different parts of history. I think this (treatment of animals) is the big thing…
I think everyone when you see [the documentary], it’s not possible to eat the same way.”
It’s not the first time Natalie Portman has spoken out about animal rights, with the Annihilation star previously stating:
“Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why all religions have rules about eating.
Three times a day, I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do.”