The Farmed Animal Fundamentals page is the first in a series of “intelligent infographics” that Faunalytics will be publishing on different animal issues. Our goal with these Fundamentals is to provide a general overview of the issue at hand while also giving you useful data to help in your advocacy. These graphics and the sources will be updated periodically with the most recent data, so be sure to check back and share our latest infographics.
Many consumers of animal products are conflicted
How people feel about animal welfare can influence their purchasing habits. With farmed animals, however, there is a clear disconnect: most people believe animals should be treated well, but most people also consume animal products. Faunalytics has been monitoring attitudes and behavior for years with our Animal Tracker. The study examines how people feel about different animal issues and how those attitudes have changed over time. You can explore the results in greater depth in this section of our site. The Animal Tracker covers a wide range of attitudes related to animals, not just animals used for food.
|That data for “What Do Consumers Think?” are from the Faunalytics Animal Tracker:
|The text of this section contains a reference to a Gallup poll from 2015: “In U.S., More Say Animals Should Have Same Rights As People.”
All four of the interactive “Attitude” charts showing changes over multiple years are based on data from the Faunalytics Animal Tracker.
LIFE AND DEATH
The scale and dynamics of food animal slaughter
Animals are slaughtered by the billions throughout the world, but the amount varies by country. The Food and Agriculture Organization and U.S. Department of Agriculture sources update their numbers regularly and are the most reliable sources we have for land animals slaughtered each year. Counting Animals provides the data for our fish statistics and publishes a wide variety of well-researched animal-related statistics.
|The full statistics for global animal slaughter are available from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The source offers multiple ways to view the data and get specifics on different countries. For the specific data behind this chart (from 2017), see this Google Drive spreadsheet.
|Our numbers for the graphic representing total U.S. slaughter figures are drawn from two sources, including the most recent USDA reports on poultry slaughter and livestock slaughter, as well as a comprehensive estimate of fish slaughter from Counting Animals, which is from 2015 but still represents a good estimate for 2017.
The text of this section contains a reference to the edible percentage of animals that we slaughter, which can be found on page 59 of this Friends of Earth report.
|The species of animals covered by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act are based on the act itself. Using the figures cited in the graphic above, we calculated the proportion of animals slaughtered who are fishes and chickens, the main species excluded from the act.
|Our statistics on slaughter line speeds are pulled from the Oxfam Report “Lives On The Line: The Human Cost Of Cheap Chicken.”
ON THE FARM
The hidden costs of animal farming
While a degree of suffering inevitably occurs during any animal slaughter, even more suffering likely happens during the day-to-day lives of farmed animals. Here we present chickens as one of the countless examples of how factory farming puts intense pressure on animals’ bodies to be more profitable. What’s more, “Ag-Gag” laws threaten whistleblowers from even trying to expose the cruelties of life on the farm. You can find information about the lives of farmed animals from the very investigations that Ag-Gag laws are trying to silence. Below are a few links to reports from some of the major groups doing investigative work today (Warning: Graphic Content):
|Our chicken growth rate data come from this Counting Animals blog. The chicken images shown are to scale based on that data.
|Our Ag-Gag map is based on work by Mark Middleton of Animal Visuals. We have simplified the map to focus on laws that have passed or failed. The original map also includes information about pending laws and undercover investigations in various states.
Animal agriculture: bad for animals and the planet
Understanding the environmental impacts of animal agriculture adds another dimension to the disastrous implications of factory farming. From greenhouse gas emissions to water usage, animal agriculture is bad for the planet. Perhaps the most foundational document to sound the alarm about factory farming and it environmental impact is Livestock’s Long Shadow, a report from the United Nations. Readers can also explore the dozens of publications that we’ve summarized in our research library relating to factory farming and the environment.
|These percentages fluctuate a bit from year-to-year, but are in line with recent, reliable estimates. The in-text reference to emissions can be found on pg. 29 of the Chatham House report, Changing Climates, Changing Diets: Pathways To Lower Meat Consumption.
|The statistics for the water graphic can be found at the product gallery on the Water Footprint Network website. It should be noted that the WFN uses a wide variety of studies and sources to make their estimates for each individual food product, including animal products. This makes verifying the statistics a challenge but as a non-partisan source we believe these estimates and proportions to be fairly accurate.