This Steve Irwin Comment Explains Why His Family Is Not Vegetarian

Bindi Irwin is a well-known environmentalist, but is she a vegan or vegetarian? The daughter of the late Steve Irwin hasn't publicly stated whether or not she maintains a plant-based diet — but her father spoke about the family's eating habits back in 2001.

It came as a surprise to many when Steve shared that the family eats meat. He explained the reasoning during an interview with The Scientific American. Steve prefaced his comments by saying that he went through a stage where he thought it would be better for the environment to be a vegetarian, so he did a great deal of research.

"Let's say this represents one cow, which will keep me in food for, let's say, a month. Now that cow needs this much land and food. Well, you can imagine, that cow needs x by x amount of land, and you can grow trees in it. Around that cow, you can have goannas, kangaroos, wallabies. You can have every other single Australian animal in and around that cow," Steve told The Scientific American. "If I was a vegetarian, to feed me for that month, I need this much land, and nothing else can grow there. Herein lies our problem. If we level that much land to grow rice and whatever, then no other animal could live there except for some insect pest species. Which is very unfortunate."

Bindi's favorite foods are vegetarian

According to Distractifymany people were surprised when Bindi shared that she'd eaten beef jerky backstage before a 2007 interview with Ellen DeGeneres. But that was 14 years ago — and many people change their eating habits, especially as they get older and begin making their own meals. A recap of Bindi's favorite foods and what she eats in a day shows that she definitely favors vegetarian meals (via The Urban Mom). Some of her favorite dishes include rice bowls with tofu and vegetables, fresh fruit, lychee, key lime pie, Goldfish crackers, and avocado toast. Meat-based dishes were absent from Bindi's favorites, so it's possible she has either become a vegetarian or she limits her meat consumption.

Another sign that she may have changed her eating habits is that she and her husband, Chandler Powell, released a line of vegan candles called "Unwined Bindi & Chandler Candle" in conjunction with their wedding last spring (via Distractify).

The issue of vegetarianism and veganism is a controversial one amongst environmentalists. Veganism is widely viewed as the most eco-friendly diet, but as reported by the BBC, it's not that straightforward. Joseph Poore, a researcher who specializes in the environmental impacts of food at the University of Oxford, told the outlet that beef, lamb, pork, and dairy cause damage to the environment "on almost every environmental issue we track." However, he added that unlikely suspects like fruit and vegetables can also cause harm. "[I]t's essential to be mindful about everything we consume," Poore told the BBC. "[A]ir-transported fruit and [vegetables] can create more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram than poultry meat, for example."

The BBC report also noted that growing foods including avocado, plums, and mangos requires massive amounts of water, which also damages the environment.