- Pets and Animals
Animals an Average Person Eats in a Lifetime
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.