Animals In Print
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July 10, 2012

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A Decade of Decline for U.S. Meat Consumption- Have We Seen “Peak Meat”?

From In Defense of Animals (IDA)

Think being vegan is just a symbolic gesture, and that someone else will be eating the meat you are not? Think again. The last ten years has seen a steady decline in the consumption of meat and eggs in the U.S., according to a study using data compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Center for Health Statistics, the United Nations and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Beef consumption has been in a downward spiral for 20 years – the national beef cattle herd is now smaller than it has been in any year since 1962. Chicken and pork production has also slumped in the last five to ten years, and the USDA predicts another dip in meat and poultry consumption for 2012.

U.S. meat consumption reached its highest point in 2004, when we ate an average 184 pounds of meat per person. That fell to 171 pounds in 2011. With the USDA’s estimated further reduction to 166 pounds in 2012, that will be a 10% dip over an eight-year period. This is a significant drop. And there’s more good news for animals – people don’t seem to be replacing meat with eggs. Egg consumption decreased by about a dozen eggs per person, per year, since 2006.

Animals in Print meat consumptionSo how does this translate into lives saved? In just one year, between 2010 and 2011, there were 1 million fewer cows slaughtered, 5 million fewer pigs slaughtered, and 240 million fewer chickens slaughtered. Between 2005 and 2011, there were 725 million fewer animals killed for their flesh .

The number of animals slaughtered is in decline and that is thanks to the vegans, vegetarians and flexiterians reducing and eliminating animal products from their diets. These lifestyle shifts are preventing lives of misery on factory farms and in slaughterhouses across the country.

The agricultural industry wants us to believe the decline is due to economic factors, which could play a part, but the dramatic reduction coincides with a mainstreaming of veganism, including undercover investigations in major media exposing the horrors of factory farms, key farm animal legislative initiatives gaining widespread attention, and celebrities, athletes and politicians adopting vegan diets.

There is still a long way to go and you can help. You can start by reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet.

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