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Animals an Average Person Eats in a Lifetime

This cartoon shows some of our most popular sources of meat. Here we see them dreaming of what they would like to eat. The real picture is far different.

This cartoon shows some of our most popular sources of meat. Here we see them dreaming of what they would like to eat. The real picture is far different.

This is what most think is farm life for animals, but the real picture today is far different.

This is what most think is farm life for animals, but the real picture today is far different.

For the most part this is how meat animals are raised today. This is done due to shear expediency and due to the astronomical demands for meat.

For the most part this is how meat animals are raised today. This is done due to shear expediency and due to the astronomical demands for meat.

This is a modern cattle raising farm for both dairy products and beef meat.

This is a modern cattle raising farm for both dairy products and beef meat.

Slaughterhouses by necessity have taken on the assembly line process due to the astronomical quantities of meat that is required to be processed on a daily basis.

Slaughterhouses by necessity have taken on the assembly line process due to the astronomical quantities of meat that is required to be processed on a daily basis.

In order to power the whole process, literally tens of thousands of facilities like this are required to process oil to run vast fleets of trucks to transport everything.

In order to power the whole process, literally tens of thousands of facilities like this are required to process oil to run vast fleets of trucks to transport everything.

In order to procure the oil, we often war for that resource. To stop this is to have a massive paradigm shift or face mass famine and mega death.

In order to procure the oil, we often war for that resource. To stop this is to have a massive paradigm shift or face mass famine and mega death.

How Many Animals Does an Average Person Eat in a Lifetime?

An Argument Against Unbridled Cruelty and for Vegetarianism

Let's break it down first with a few stats. First let's say for the purposes of this argument that a person lives an average of 70 years. That's 70 X 365.242 days for a total of 25,567 days more or less. Each and every one of those days they have three square meals and two snacks. For our purposes, we will combine the two snacks into a single meal and round up to four meals a day. We will break it down again when details are examined. So; four meals a day over the span of 25,567 days equate to a sum of 102,268 meals in a lifetime. That's one heck of a lot of eating, and that's just for a single individual! Let's look at the day of an average meat eater who we will call No Name. For the analysis, our consumer will be completely healthy throughout life and never fasts or misses meals.

The day starts off with bacon or sausages and eggs. There may be hash browns, flap jacks, toast or cereal, but we'll overlook this part. We are more interested in the animal sacrifices. For lunch, there is a choice of a hamburger, fish-burger, chicken-burger, or some delicacy that may feature crab or Chinese stir fry duck, or sushi with raw fish. The evening finishes off with a steak, spare ribs (as if any animal can spare some), roast pork, turkey, goose, wild meats, fish or anything else that strikes the palate. Snacks may consist of something containing milk or milk products, may be pepperoni, a pizza slice of leftovers from the other meals. Admittedly, having sausages and steaks requires many people to eat the entire pig or bull, but it takes the appetite of just one to require the slaughter to produce these items.

So for breakfast, a pig lost its life to produce the sausage links. Two or three chicks were never born in order to provide the eggs. We'll stick to two for the sake of simplicity. Then there was the butter for the toast or flap jacks that came from discontented cows on a factory farm. The cream for the coffee and milk for the cereal also came from these discontented cows. This is just breakfast and we're already off to a rip roaring start.

Again keeping things simple, our no-named consumer has a chicken-burger. Again, it takes a few people to devour a complete chicken, but only one with the means and appetite to have it slaughtered for the burger. Another animal has sacrificed itself! If instead, No Name consumes ten chicken wings, this single act cost the lives of five chickens, but this is a bit of an educational digression. The person may wolf down this feast with deep fried string potatoes or something else fried in animal fat. Once more there may be coffee or tea with cream. In the simple case, we have the sacrifice of two animals, the chicken for the burger and the unknown animal that provided the fat for deep frying. But the day is not done yet!

Aahhhh! Suppertime; and No Name feasts on a smorgasbord containing several meat products along with various deep fried veggies. On the menu; deep baked succulent pork, braised lamb, deep fried Peking duck, king crab “a-la-king”, beef strips marinated in tomato sauce, salmon, escargot, crispy chicken, goose, bison meat and so on. No name is an average eater and favors certain items, choosing four out of a wide range. Other nights, No Name may opt for just fish or a steak, so we will round the choice by averaging to two animals that gave up their lives.

Snack time may consist of a pizza slice, pepperoni, a hot dog, a burger or left overs. There, the day is done and let's do a tally. Let's see: there's the three for breakfast, the two for lunch, the two for supper and the one for the snack. This gives a grand total of an averaged to eight animals that were sacrificed to get No Name through a single day. This may vary to fewer or more depending on what is consumed by way of meat and meat by-products. Admittedly, there are some animals that will require the appetites of many people to devour the entire corpus delecti. This will be analyzed later, hopefully without invoking the intervention and analysis of an actuary.

During the sum of days of No Name's life, an averaged potential of some 818,142 animals sacrificed their lives to sate a lifelong appetite for meat. In addition, all that cream, butter and milk ads up to some 51,134 servings, but for the most part, these animals did not lose their lives, but lived lives of misery on a factory farm until their production fall off and they were then slaughtered for their meat. This animal sacrifice is an astounding figure all by itself until we then factor in an entire nation of meat consumers. This is where it starts to get tricky because many individual animals can feed many people in one day.

For the average cow or bull, 350 people can feast on an eight ounce burger patty, steak or other serving. In the case of a forty pound roast pig, some 150 people can feed. A lamb can feed between 45 to 50 people. In the case of the average chicken, that figure drops to one or two depending on the size of the chicken. The same applies for a duck. For a large goose or turkey that number is about six. For the average trout, that will feed a single individual and for fish like smelt or sardines, it takes several fish to feed a single person. A large salmon like the famed tyee, can feed about six or eight people. A lobster can feed two people and a king crab can feed several. There are many other meat choices, but these form the main choices, most of which are factory farmed today. Others are captured wild or raised in more open settings. An now, for the fun part, now that we have some figures, and that is the math!

Our fictitious consumer, No Name will, based on the foregoing, devour the equivalent of 73 entire cows and/or bulls based in some form of beef every day over a whole lifetime. They will devour about 175.3 pigs in the same period, provided they have some pork every day. If they favor lamb instead, they will devour some 538 individuals in the sum of their averaged lifespan. Don't forget to subtract all the pigs if they are averse to eating pork for religious reasons. Then there is chicken, which will account for a whopping 170,045 individuals if they have half to a whole chicken a day. They will eat some 4,383 dozen eggs based on daily consumption. These are the basics. For the rarer occasions such as salmon, trout, turkey or goose, where they are eaten on special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and some other celebrations there are 6,392 individuals in total. If the diet is varied, then 1,598 of each are required that can sate one to several people. In the case of a trout, the figure stays at 1,598 as one person is easily capable or eating an entire trout in one sitting. The others, which take several people to devour will see the sacrifice of only 229 individuals of each animal. That then is the basics for one meat lover over the sum of their lifespan.

As of 2008, the population of the US by census was 314,659,000 people. In Canada, that figure is 33,573,000 for 2008 and for Mexico, it is 112,322,757 people. This gives us a grand total of 460,564,757 people. We do not have hard figures as to how many are vegan, or vegetarian, so there is some discrepancy here. Figures going back to 2004 suggest that 4% of Canadians are vegetarian while 3.2% of US citizens are vegetarian in 2008. No information is available for Mexico, but we suspect that most of the poor, that form the majority there, are de facto vegetarians due to poverty. For the time being we will leave Mexico out of the picture until we get hard data. Now the final tally for Canada and the US to find out what the extent of animal sacrifice is. In the US there were 10,069,066 vegetarians while Canada there were 1,342,920 in 2008 and 2004 respectively. This leaves the rest of the people who eat meat and hence require the sacrifice of animals. For the US, that is 304,589,934 people and for Canada that is 32,230,080 people. For both countries we now have a total meat eating population of 336,820,014 people for 2008. Over a 70 year period then, we see the sacrifice of 24.59 billion cows and/or bulls with the emphasis on bulls as cows are needed for their oceans of milk, cream and butter. More than 59 billion pigs are slaughtered over that same span. Alternately, more than 181 billion sheep are slaughtered, but we also get a mountain of wool! Now we have some doubt between the pig eaters and the sheep eaters as this is a question of religious belief and/or ethnicity. So the actual figures for both are lower than this projection in a way that is not altogether clear. For the smaller animals, chickens represent more than 57.27 trillion slaughtered individuals. Some 1.4 trillion dozen eggs are devoured. These are just the big ticket items! On an annual basis, we see the slaughter of around 300 million bulls (and cows to a lesser extent), around a billion pigs and/or sheep combined and 800 billion chickens. Other animals are also slaughtered but at much lower numbers.

To process the amount of meat requires the sum of our technology to run factory farms, the slaughterhouse assembly lines, butchering, packaging and transport of all this meat. These are astronomical figures and much of the modern meat industry is mediated on almost complete disregard for the food animals and extreme cruelty all along each step of the process. In addition, the resources required to feed all these animals to the point of slaughter and eating cuts into about 91 percent of agricultural production, the other 9 percent being for direct consumption by people including all those who are vegan and vegetarian. Most meat food animals live their tortured lives in overcrowded and filthy conditions and are fed anti-biotics and growth hormones, which most of us ingest. Our wheat and corn belts may look huge, but most of it goes to feeding the animals. Almost everything is transported back and forth using oceans of non renewable fossil fuels. Most of the fossil fuels are brought in from the Middle East where war is raging over resources.

Many people take a stand for animal rights, but most eat meat. There is a needed serious rethink on this. There is a saying in the army training camps that is applicable here. Most people need to “get a bloody horrible grip on” themselves. Some serious introspection is required that lead to a personal change of paradigm one way or another. In the final analysis, if you are not prepared to do everything that is required to eat meat, from the raising of the animal to slaughtering and butchering it, then you must ask yourself, is this a worthy thing to do when clear alternatives exist to meat? What have most people done in order to warrant the killing of billions of animals every day just to go another day longer? We will be looking at these questions in a separate venue.

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Food Inc. The mass meat business

The Factory Farm Setting

The slaughterhouseL Take a good hard look at dinner!

Is this any way to treat any living being? Unfortunately we treat each other little better.

Not enough milk for Belgian Fields or burger meat? Check out Supercow!

When there is a "surplus", this is what happens and people starve. These hogs look healthy enough. What a waste of every resource to raise these animals and the


Joanna Rimmer on October 07, 2014:


The time for change is now here.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on May 07, 2014:

@ Random Guy: Obviously, you know how to insult and denigrate without bothering to read the entire piece. You are not even a member of Hubpages, so as an outsider you think it is safe to hit and run. I suppose you think cruel and inhumane factory farms are OK. Just where do you think the arguments are incorrect and can you make a valid counter claim with stats and references? Where do you think the videos come from? Do you think they were photo-shopped?

random guy on May 07, 2014:

"Two or three chicks were never born in order to provide the eggs"

Do you even know what eggs are? I stopped reading when I reached that point. Poor and incorrect arguments. (Not saying vegetarianism is wrong)

Shanti Perez from Spokane, Washington, U.S.A. on December 27, 2012:

Most excellent!

Joe Njenga from Nairobi Kenya on August 18, 2012:

Your you have such a great argument. Surely we eat very many animals in our entire lifetime .

Joe Njenga from Nairobi Kenya on August 18, 2012:

Your you have such a great argument. Surely we eat very many animals in our entire lifetime .

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on July 19, 2012:

The average person is not aware of any of this and supports factory farming because the products are cheaper and they do not have the budget to buy special interest products. Nor do they have the land to grow their own. Meat animals require adequate range in which to grow and most people, say those who live in multistory condos do not have the land, period. As factory farming supports at least 95 percent of the population, then almost all of them are getting extra things in their meat such as growth hormones, anti-biotics, pesticides and GMOs. The hormones are causing sexual blurring in the population where men are becoming feminized and women tending toward masculinity. There is also a sharp rise in hermaphrodism. In the so called third world 98 percent of the population is involved directly or indirectly in agriculture and 2 percent are urban. In the first world, the reverse is true. Just 2 percent of the people are involved in agriculture with the bulk of that involved in agri-biz where huge tracts of land are managed by a handful of people with massive and expensive mechanization and huge barns with hundreds of thousands of animals. Most of this is out of sight as 98 percent is urbanized and are unaware of what is really afoot.

The small scale farmer is being squeezed out by the agri-biz giants with the help of Monsanto and lawsuits on GMO patent infringement due to blow over in crops like corn and soy. Fortunately, animals usually don't disperse by wind pollination, so these farms are a more resilient to take over.

In deference to your suggestion, I would therefore recommend that people do their homework and buy from known, local producers who raise their animals in a humane manner. This will translate to better health as there will not be anto-biotics due to overcrowding in filthy circumstances. There will be no growth hormones to skew children's natural sexual development. There is a far better chance that the animals will not be GMO as these are the reserve of the big agri-biz producers that manufacture for the mass domestic and foreign markets, most of the consumers of which are stone ignorant of what went on with the meat they bought as they were otherwise too busy chasing the dollar.

In this hub, I was explaining the mathematics of the number of animals a person eats in an average lifetime. It was meant to be that kind of analysis to bring a little clarity into a complex picture. To involve other issues as well, would require a book, heavily referenced which few would read. Few enough even read this!

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on July 19, 2012:

Regardless of your other hubs, which you're right, I did not take the time to read, in this hub (the one I commented on) you appear to make the claim that every meal that a "meat-eater" consumes came from a factory style farm or feedlot. My point is that this is not true. There are plenty of people, myself included, that do not buy meat from commercial grocery stores but from farmer's markets or direct from farmers - or they raise the meat themselves. It's not fair to ask everyone to raise all of their own food, and the figures you quote about population should make the reason for this abvious - not enough land to go around. Since you grew up on a farm where it sounds like the animals were treated properly, I don't understand why you would recommend that people stop eating meat altogether. Instead, why not recommend that meat be purchased from farms like the one you grew up on, rather than purchased from a source that would continue to support large-scale factory meat production.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on July 19, 2012:

IF you took time to analyze some of my other hubs you would see that I am critical of factory farms and not the ma an pa family farm where raising animals is far more humane. I grew up on one of those farms, so I know. We had free range chickens and the only time the cows were confined was during the milking cycle. Otherwise they were free to roam the 1oo plus acres of the farm.

As for diet, I recommend a predominantly vegetarian diet and the use of wild meat which is far healthier.

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on July 18, 2012:

I don't mean to be rude, but what exactly would you like everyone to replace meat with in their daily diets?

I know just as well as others do that feedlots and factory-style slaughterhouses are inhumane. The truth about beef, for instance, is that feedlots first make the animals sick by feeding them the wrong diet, them medicate them to keep them alive long enough to be slaughtered.

I have to say that you overlook the fact that there are humane, ethical ways to raise livestock animals for human consumption; humane ways to slaughter them, too. I have killed my own chickens, and always with respect for the animal. I've also had the displeasure of looking after hogs that were over 6 years old, and weighed more than 700 pounds. This is what happens to hogs that aren't butchered in a timely fashion. These animals had joint problems, arthritis, problems with mobility, tumors, and probably various other medical conditions which weren't obvious to the eye. It was one of the cruelest things I've even seen firsthand. For literally thousands of years mankind has selectively bred certain animals (cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, chickens, etc) for the sole purpose of producing food. We have changed their genetics through breeding pactices. Most chickens that are sold in stores reach their mature weight in less than 50 days, at which point they weren't even able to move about because of the heaviness of their own breasts. What would you have us do with all of these animals? With all of the eggs you lament having never hatched? (Which by the way, an egg can never hatch a chick unless a rooster has first mounted the chicken and fertilized it - a chicken who lays an egg is no different than a human woman ovulating every month, we just do it internally).

Again, I appreciate your sentiments but I believe you do many farmers a serious injustice by claiming that everyone who raises food animals does so in a cruel, inhumane, torturous fashion. Every one is entitled to eat whatever they like, vegetarians included, but I think vegetarians who refuse to eat meat strictly because they believe it is all raised inhumanely ought to try paying a visit to a local, small farm.

Aidan on June 22, 2012:

@David the slaughter itself is by definition inhumane. There is no such thing as humane slaughter, that just doesn't make sense. By your justification you can say that the gasing of jews by Hitler was 'humane' as well.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on June 06, 2012:

If these stats are a stretch, why not offer some of your own with some references?

David on June 05, 2012:

These statistics are a stretch, but either way, it's irrelevant. We should be proposing potential solutions for more humane treatment during breed, life, and slaughter... a huge majority of humans worldwide do and will always continue to eat meat, regardless of pretty much anything.

Melissa A Smith from New York on November 13, 2011:

@ 3812155 I won't argue back any such nonsense. Both studies of this nature are horrifically flawed, and I'll just laugh off any person's decision to adopt a certain lifestyle over correlation studies over which parties "live longer". And good for you that you would rather live without killing animals. I would rather not live without these foods and I'm perfectly OK with it. To your assessment of how much I 'love' animals, I will reply, thank goodness I can think for myself and not fall victim to other peoples' emotionally-bloated hysterics.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on November 13, 2011:

It takes approximately 10 pounds of vegetable food to produce one pound of meat. Pound for pound, vegetarianism is far more efficient than meat eating. If we want to move toward solving the world food crisis, people are going to have to eat less meat at least, or none at all at best.

3812155 on November 13, 2011:

I don't understand how syzygyastro is even bothering commenting on this site, it is renowned that meat eaters die sooner and get a lot more illnessess than veggies do. And if you argue back, "veggies die sooner," I would say, well even if they did I would rather die sooner than killing over 818,142 animals, cannibles and meat-eaters, in a way they are the same sort of people. I think all veggies would stick with me when I say, "GO GREEN, DON'T BE MEAN!!!" veggies count every 'meat produce' to be 1 animal died, even if you don't eat 1 animal, that animal has still lost a life to selfish behaviour. I am a animal-lover and i think if your a meat eater and you say ur a animal-lover, crap your not. If you are you would stop killing animals.

Saswat on November 12, 2011:

Now thats what i call a true human

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on September 02, 2011:

There have been signs of cannibalism of late near where I live, or at least something highly suspicious with feet being found in coastal waters and a freshly butchered human femur found in an alley on top of a dumpster. This is one of the outcomes of eating meat where there are too many people and not enough meat to go around.

steve392 on September 01, 2011:

I agree. Eat all the meats!

bob on September 01, 2011:

Eat all the meats!

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on June 21, 2011:

Free range farming does not have the problems of factory farming, but factory farming is displacing the smaller free range ma and pa farms. This makes it doubly evil as many people are forced out of a livelihood they know best for the sake of concentrating profit into fewer and fewer hands.

Lisa Mae DeMasi on June 21, 2011:

I know manufacturing including factory farming is all tied up politically. Greed at the expense of cruelty. Thanks again for your well organized article. Too many people don't truly realize the atrocities involved with farming.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on June 21, 2011:

Follow the money!

Lisa Mae DeMasi on June 21, 2011:

Just found you and your hubs! I've been a veggie now for a decade after learning about factory farming. Why aren't we teaching what it's really like in our schools?

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on June 01, 2011:

Farmers' markets are a growing reality, at least around here. We have them all year long. However, they are really big from June to October when fruits and vegetables come on line. Many people choose what they pay attention to and right now, in at least two cities, it's the Stanley Cup games. Yes, due to my work, I'm paying a lot of attention to the games as well. Then there are people who are just too busy elsewhere to pay this issue much attention, but at least it is gaining more coverage.

Melissa A Smith from New York on June 01, 2011:

Thanks, although I didn't really mean that people should be ignorant to how we process meat, just that it's not really essential, or even possible, for everyone to actually take part in it. I think that just knowing what goes on is enough. Many people willingly choose to not pay attention to what is going on and that is part of the problem. If more people knew then more would support farmers markets.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on June 01, 2011:

When I talk about slaughtering and butchering an animal, I refer in part to hunting and fishing skills, which are as old as mankind itself. There is no doubt from the geological perspective. I am not recommending a return to the past, as under the current circumstances, this is clearly impossible. We have this civilization that exists by virtue of cooperation between many diverse specialists.

Shopping in a farmer's market is a good idea as you have a closer connection to the food you eat and it is usually more local, reducing our carbon footprint. And yes, I have to agree with you that GMOs are in vegetables, fruits and grains as well as built in pesticides, growth hormones, fungicides and even radioactive isotopes of late. It boils down that everything is interconnected and there is no such thing as pure organic anymore.

Now I know and have written on the Inuit, who live primarily on meat because of their far northern latitude where little vegetation grows. Inuit who live by the old ways eat 85 percent meat and this is usually raw. Human beings have developed along a number of evolutionary tracks, but have not diverged so much that they cannot breed with one another. In China and India as stated, most people are vegetarian. In India, people also use butter, milk and cheese, making them technically lacto-vegetarian.

I used to eat meat and I used to hunt and fish. I did all the slaughtering and butchering as well as preservation in some cases. This of course is in the forest where there is still plenty of game to hunt, although these areas are shrinking due to human encroachment. Contrary to what you suggest, I think people need to be aware of how their food is grown, handled and processed. I do not think that ignorance of any kind is beneficial, nor for that matter, censorship. These don't make for a democratic society.

Then there is the reality of natural disaster that we have been seeing plenty of these days. In those circumstances where help can take forever to materialize, people need to know essential survival skills, how to find drinkable water, how to stalk, track, hunt, kill and process meat, what plants are edible and which can be fatal if eaten and so on.

As I said before, people can live on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, tubers, legumes as seaweed alone without milk, eggs or meat. There are millions in the US and Canada alone that seem to be doing quite well on the vegetarian or vegan diet. I suppose that you are correct that some people could not become vegetarian due to the fact that hundreds, even thousands of generations lived on meat, such as the Inuit who suffer by changing away from their long established ways of living.

In the final analysis, most human beings are omnivores, that is, capable of eating and surviving on just about anything. In some regions of the world, people eat insects as a mainstay. Mow that I Have mentioned it, there will be a hub emerging about the viability of insect protein. Since we cannot call insects meat in the same way as eating pigs, chickens, cows and the like, I would suppose that people who eat insects would be insectivores like animals that eat insects.

In the animal kingdom, the closest animal to being a true omnivore is the bear as they can eat meat, fruit, berries, tubers, nuts, honey, fish, insects and anything else they can find, all of it raw and whole. Bears are highly adapted as well to binge eat and then sleep for months without a single bite or drink. In this sense, bears are very special and the focus of many interesting studies, such as how to apply bear like hibernation to humans in long deep space missions. I would at this time like to thank you for your thought provoking influence.

Melissa A Smith from New York on May 31, 2011:

Yes I am bothered by it, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't eat meat. Promoting the -proper- way to raise meat is what is important and directly effects the quality of life of the animal. A proper way to raise an animal would not include GMOs (which are also in vegetarian products that contain soy that are not fermented), antibiotics and growth hormones.

Those studies by the way don't mean much. Correlation doesn't equal causation, I believe that they simply state that some people who are cruel to humans are also cruel to animals, factory farms do not CAUSE cruel humans.

I disagree with your statement that if you cannot raise and kill an animal you should not eat it. How are people in a modern society supposed to do that? You would be better off making arguments that they shouldn't be modernized period before an argument stating they should forfeit their natural diet. Not to mention, many modernized people don't like to see killing and this is a good thing; people are now more sensitive to the feelings of animals. Do you not want this?

My thoughts are that vegetarianism isn't the answer. It's fine for anyone who prefers it (and who doesn't experience drawbacks to their general wellness), but that's just one way among many for people to lessen their impact on the environment, not a moral obligation. The obligation lies within how we raise our meat, and buying meat from a farmers market is a vote for the proper humane way of doing that.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on May 31, 2011:

Have you even bothered or are bothered by the cruelty of factory farming and also its impact on the environment? I suspect that this is not the case. There are videos attached to the article and these are not faked. There is also the question of cruelty to animals being extended to human beings according to psychological studies. Then there is the fact of GMO modifications, growth hormones and anti-biotics that get passed on to people who eat factory farmed animals. The fact of the matter is that very few animals are free range. I put it to you that if you cannot raise, kill and butcher an animal yourself that you do not have the right to eat it, collectivist argumentation in a capitalist context notwithstanding.

As for quoting out of context in order to discredit, that's hitting below the belt and is the device of the ignorant attempting to manipulate others. Whole pigs indeed are killed and every part is used except the scream when it is in its death throes. The meat is used for sausage, bacon, ham and the skin sometime used on footballs for us to kick around. I put it to you that concentration camps for meat animals are a precursor to concentration camps for human beings that do not meet up to some arbitrary criterion that parades as logical science or holy cause.

You can of course, continue to eat meat if you want to and have the money to buy it in the context of mall-centric living. But consider that most people in the world do not eat meat for the simple reason that they cannot afford it. And if they could adopt a developed world lifestyle, then the earth will be destroyed that much faster.

Finally, I do not apologize for writing this article because I know something of the inside workings of the meat industry, which I explain in the article. Do check out the videos if you have doubts. These were not staged!

Melissa A Smith from New York on May 31, 2011:

I'm not understanding why this article says things like "a pig lost its life to produce the sausage links", whole pigs aren't killed just to create a few pieces of sausage. Obviously there is no injustice in eating unfertilized eggs no matter what your beliefs are.

This article just states that a lot of people eating meat = a lot of animals being slaughtered for meat. That is correct, but where is the ethical violation? Humans eat meat and have been since they evolved. There are many things that people in modernized countries do that have impacts, there is no moral obligation for everyone to return to a simple way of living, and if there was it wouldn't happen anyway. What really matters is how the animals are raised. The plea for vegetarianism doesn't have any impact on that.

Beverly Stevens from College Station on May 29, 2011:

Good article--thanks for writing.

nicolerkilpatrick on May 06, 2011:

Thanks for Information.

William J. Prest (author) from Vancouver, Canada on April 11, 2011:

To christopheranton: It is highly unlikely that everyone would suddenly become vegetarian, even if everyone read this article and others, which is extremely unlikely. On the other hand, the current situation is so unsustainable on the premise of an oil run industry that once the oil runs out or gets far to expensive, many people will suddenly be without meat and animals without food. Lessons of the past tell us that if there is a surplus, that is simply killed off, burned or destroyed on one pretext or another. As it is, rising oil shortages have caused a divide in the world where wars are fought to obtain this diminishing resource. To the victor goes the oil and to the loser; starvation. The current state of technology is almost totally reliant on oil and this needs to change if the way of life people have gotten used to continues.

The second point is that people who eat meat should be ready to do everything our ancestors did in order to do so. That is all. Whether wild or domesticated, those of us who eat it, must rains, kill and butcher the animal. It may come to this sooner than we think! The current situation evolved to handle the vast amount of meat required everyday by hundreds of millions of people. This is a 24/7 highly organized industrial machine that can barely keep pace to the demand as it is now. New demands mean more production and ever more sophisticated answers.

The current production methods are mediated by economic expediency and this ends in cruelty to the animals grown for food. Not too long ago, almost all of them were free range and healthier. Today, they are anything but that.

Most of the world's population is already vegetarian or on the down side, too poor to survive; again due to economic expediency. This piece calls our attention to the hidden side of meat consumption. Whether or not a person becomes a vegetarian, is a personal choice that really cannot be forced on them, unless situation evolve where there is not other choice than to chose to eat plants only. To become a vegetarian is not an easy process and I do not recommend the shock approach as this is doomed to failure. If that is the choice, whether triggered by health or concern for animals or both, a gradual transitional process is the best as this will more likely end in success. Already, most of the world's population outside of the US, Canada and Europe are vegetarian, so there is little argument that one cannot survive on plants alone.

amillar from Scotland, UK on April 11, 2011:

I seldom eat meat - almost never. It's too expensive and as you point our here, they live the most miserable lives. If they were capable of making the choice, I expect they'd choose death rather than life under such conditions.

I suppose that if everyone became vegetarians, farmers would simply stop artificially inseminating, and grow quinoa instead. Apparently, it provides all the required protein for humans.

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on April 11, 2011:

There is one problem that would arise if everyone became vegetarian. What do we do with all the animals that are suddenly surplus to requirement? I doubt if they can all be kept as pets, and where do we grow all the vegetables required, if all the land is being utilised as "national parks" for retired cows and sheep etc.

Most of the animals, used for food purposes, would be in dreadful straits if they were not looked after by farmers. There would have to be constant culls, just to keep the numbers down, and veterinary care would be a thing of the past.

It is all very fine having an idealogical attachment to vegetarianism, but in practical terms, universal abstention from meat eating can only harm the creatures that it would be designed to save.

The solution to the animal welfare problem, in my view, is to limit the consumption of meat, and to promote less cruel methods of rearing animals for food.

Vegetarianism is bad for animals.

Rob from Oviedo, FL on April 11, 2011:

Well stated. A very powerful argument. You may a very good case for vegetarianism or veganism.


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