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Mar 10, 2006

Chicken and Fish: No Reason to Dismiss Their Plight


A reason for the public not considering this is, among many other factors, that we aren’t talking about mammals, but chicken and other birds. In fact, when talking about vegetarianism the public sometimes understand “red meat”. Disregarding other animals such as chicken or fish is something common. Perhaps animal rights campaigners are partially responsible for this, since we sometimes ignore or forget the fishes and birds when fighting for other animals.

This would be problematic in whatever circumstance, but it seems particularly shocking since they are precisely the ones that are killed by humans in higher numbers. We can see it by taking a look at the figures below. The table indicates the relative proportion between the number of lives that we take if we choose to eat the same weight of one animal product or another.

There is a difference in the number of animals that are killed for animal products. But, in any case, the most important thing to remember is that we can choose a vegetarian diet and choose food that doesn’t require us to kill anyone. Those who maintain that it’s important to save as many animals as we can will certainly agree with us at this point. This is in fact a common viewpoint. In the case of humans it is usually believed that is better to save the lives of many than to save the lives of just a few. Those who defend this view must hold a similar stance in the case of other animals. On the other hand, there are others who think that it doesn’t matter whether the animals who are killed are more or less: they will claim that the problem is that if something is wrong -because it harms someone- it shouldn’t be carried out, regardless of how many lives are affected. Those who defend this view will also agree with the conclusion we have reached: since a vegetarian diet avoids killing anyone as well. Our intention here is not to defend that eating certain animals is not as bad as eating others, but rather that many animals who are often dismissed should be taken into account as any others may be. Please note that by vegetarian we mean an animal-free diet (vegan diet) in the widest sense of the term, which means taking into account that eggs and milk also entail killing animals and causing suffering to animals.

Milk 1,0
Cows 5,5
Horses 17,3
Pigs 57,7
Sheep 173,3
Lambs 266,9
Eggs 360,0
Cods 2475,2
Chicken 3779,5
Sardines 41254,0

How the calculations were made:

First of all, it is important to bear in mind that this calculus comes out of a generalisation which has simplified extremely what in fact is a very complex phenomenon. We are offering here just a general exposition of what the proportions may be under certain circumstances, regardless of the blurriness of the numbers we have drawn. Please mind that this is hardly avoidable in an exposition such as this.

We have then used milk as the index, so all numbers are in comparison to milk.

We have selected Sweden as the source for this study, but we believe that this can indicate more or less what the situation may be in other Western countries. We found the numbers above by dividing the total number of animals from a certain species that are killed in Sweden every year with the approximate amount of flesh they got from the animals. The information about the eggs is based on information from the egg producers on the average number of eggs that one Swedish hen normally produces during her life. We have also included all the young male chickens that are killed because they don’t produce eggs. The number of fishes is calculated from an approximate average weight of the two species of animals that were selected (although there are obviously variations between individuals).

Under the label “cows” we have also included calves, bullocks and bulls as well as adult cows who are killed when their milk production decreases. We have included in this calculus all these animals and not only cows since in order to obtain milk it is necessary to bring calves to life, which may be killed when they are very young or when they are older. At this point the proportion between milk and cow flesh is based upon the information that two thirds of the incomes of the cattle industry come from selling the milk and only one third from sending the animals to slaughter. We have then considered two thirds of the cattle to be killed because of the milk, and one third because of the flesh (we have not considered the production of leather in this calculation since we have focused on food production). Of course these numbers are very relative, since they depend on the particular prices of cow flesh and milk in Sweden in 2004. According to this, those two numbers (“milk” and “cows&rdquo appear to be the more unstable ones of the table, although they can nevertheless be informative to a certain extent.

It is important to take into account that the statistics only include the number of animals that are killed directly in the production, we have not included the number of animals that are killed because of the food the animals are fed or because of the environmental aspects of production. (If this was the case, many other animals should be counted: apart from the fishes, lots of other animals are trapped in nets, and countless are killed to to fed those that are grown in barns).

Sources:
www.sjv.se
www.sjv.se
www.efa.sk/sve

From: http://speciesism.org/

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Posted: Mar 10, 2006 10:35am

 

 
 
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