The comment threads around here have been home to a lot of arguments over the last year, and a few discussions have a habit of resurfacing from time to time. One of these typically starts with a defender of animal-eating accusing vegans of being responsible for more animals' deaths than animal-eaters because of the animals who die as a result of raising and harvesting crops. The person making the argument assumes that people who eat plant-based diets must be responsible for more deaths in the fields than those who eat animal-based diets full of flesh, dairy, and eggs, failing to acknowledge, of course, the enormous amounts of plant foods that must be raised and fed to the animals people kill to eat -- more than must be raised for direct consumption by vegans.
As has been discussed in those comment threads each time, the logic fails. And recently, Animal Visuals gave animal advocates a great new tool to answer this weak but common argument. Continue after the jump to view the powerful graph settling the debate.
Click on "Total," "Slaughter," and "Harvest" for the following respective graphs (emphasis, pointing out what distinguishes the three graphs, is mine):
Number of Animals Killed to Produce One Million Calories in Eight Food Categories
Number of Animals Directly Slaughtered to Produce One Million Calories in Eight Food Categories
Number of Animals Killed in Crop Harvesting to Produce One Million Calories in Eight Food Categories
Even in crop harvesting, eating grains, fruits, and vegetables doesn't come remotely close to requiring as many deaths as eating animals and their secretions. Go here to see not only a larger version of the graph, but also an overview of the research backing it up -- including methods, formulas, discussion, and sources.
For more information, read Number of Animals Killed to Produce One Million Calories in Eight Food Categories.