The American Meat Institute releases an industry fact sheet each year. So we decided to take a look at the latest bragging rights for fiscal year 2010. We picked out a handful of these facts here and responded to them from our own perspective of what each fact means to us:
AMI Fact 1: The meat and poultry industry is the largest segment of U.S. agriculture. Total meat and poultry production in 2010 reached more than 92.1 billion pounds, up 1.2 billion pounds from 2009.
FFH Response: We can’t change hearts and minds about eating animals until we ask people to stop looking at them as commodities and instead as what they really are, sentient beings. Attempting to partner with and regulate this industry negates that goal.
AMI Fact 2: In 2009, meat and poultry industry sales totaled $154.8 billion.
FFH Response: Our post-industrial, high-tech economy ironically profits to a great extent on barbaric violence and killing of non human animals.
AMI Fact 3: In 2009, the meat and poultry industry processed:
- 8.7 billion chickens
- 246 million turkeys
- 113.6 million hogs
- 33.3 million cattle
- 2.2 million sheep and lambs
FFH Response: Animals are the raw materials of the meat industry. Reducing their value to a mere human resource means we must objectify them and deny their identity as complex sentient beings. No amount of “humane” marketing can change this fundamental fact.
AMI Fact 4: In 2009, American meat companies produced:
- 26 billion pounds of beef
- 23 billion pounds of pork
- 5.7 billion pounds of turkey
- 309 million pounds of veal, lamb and mutton
- 36 billion pounds of chicken
FFH Response: We never see these animals alive. We’re not supposed to. Dead animal parts surround us everywhere we go. That’s how the meaty industry disassociates us from the animal behind the meat.
AMI Fact 5: Top Livestock and Poultry Slaughtering States:
- Cattle – Nebraska, Kansas, Texas
- Hog – Iowa, North Carolina, Minnesota
- Chicken – Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama
- Turkey – Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas
FFH Response: Yet few people will ever see the slaughter of an animal in their lifetime. They will drive past windowless sheds on large compounds in remote rural areas, but they will never consciously recognize them as slaughterhouses.
AMI Fact 6: There are 6,278 federally inspected meat and poultry slaughtering and processing plants in the U.S.
FFH Response: And yet no one except industry personnel are allowed inside of them. No cameras can photograph the operations. No press ever report on them. Current laws can convict a trespasser as a federal terrorist.
Do these facts give you pause? If so, you can easily opt out and remove
your support of the meat industry by going vegan. Check out our Why Vegan?