According to Farm USA, 10.1 billion livestock animals raised for food were killed in 2010 in the United States. They compiled data from the US Dept. of Agriculture to arrive at that total. Of the total, 9.1 billion were chickens raised to be eaten, 460 million were egg producers, 270 million were turkey, and the remaining billion were mammals such as cows and pigs, and fowl such as ducks and geese. For 2011 they expected another 10 billion, plus a one percent increase over the 2010 total.
To someone who is already familiar with such an enormous number of animals that die for human consumption the news might not be too shocking, but for everyone else it must be mind-boggling.
Farm USA didn’t analyze any data to calculate the quantity of fish killed for food in 2010, but they did cite a number from a researcher named Noam Mohr. They said he came up with a total of just over 53 billion aquatic animals that died for human food consumption in 2010. There were about 13 billion finfishes, and 40 billion shellfishes. On a per-person basis each year that works out to 28 land animals and 175 aquatic animals killed for food, they say.
Meat and poultry production might drop five percent this year Bloomberg has speculated, thus increasing prices for 2012. Factors that may contribute to the drop are tighter feed supplies and increased production costs. Also a drought in the Southwest is forcing ranchers to decrease some herds and demand for American beef from abroad could cause meat prices to rise.
If meat production drops, there will be fewer animals killed, and less climate change emissions will be created. About 51 percent of climate change emissions come from livestock production around the world.
Image Credit: Geoffrey McKim