Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just How Many Animals Are We Consuming Each Year?

According to recently published data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several other official sources, 59 billion land and sea animals died to feed Americans in 2009. The average American meat eater was responsible for about 198 animal deaths in 2009. Over a lifetime, this amounts to 15,000 animals per meat eater.

After a three-year decline, the number of animals eaten by Americans rose slightly from 2008 to 2009, as a decrease in chickens and fish killed was accompanied by an increase in shellfish killed.

Land animals: The number of land animals eaten in the U.S. continued to decrease. The average meat-eater in 2009 ate 1.3 fewer land animals than in 2008 and almost 3 fewer than in 2006.
That amounts to more than 300 million fewer land animals killed to feed Americans than in 2008, and more than 600 million fewer than in 2006. This was due almost entirely to a drop in chickens raised for meat, which make up 89% of the land animal deaths. There was little change for other land animals.

Sea animals: The number of fish eaten in the U.S. also continued to decrease. The average meat-eater in 2009 consumed 2 fewer fish than in 2008 and 10 fewer fish than in 2006. That’s 500 million fewer fish killed than in 2008, and 2.4 billion fewer than in 2006. However, shellfish consumption increased, with the average meat-eater consuming 5 more shellfish in 2009 than in 2008.

The number of animals slaughtered in the US comprise only a portion of the total number that die here, as many do not reach the slaughterhouse. Neither do they include animals slaughtered abroad and then shipped to the US, even as they do include those slaughtered here for sale abroad. Nevertheless, they provide a picture of the slaughter industry in this country.

* Excerpt from and cross-referenced with other websites on animal agriculture

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