Thursday, June 08, 2006

The High Cost of Meat

Most people know these days that a plant-based diet is healthier than an animal-based one.
However, not many realize just how many deaths are caused by the human practice of eating other animals.
Below are some statistics of human deaths caused directly or indirectly from using animals for food.

Heart Disease

5.1 million deaths per year.
30% of all 17 million heart disease deaths per year could be prevented by a balanced vegan diet.


2.45 million deaths per year.
35% of all 7 million cancer deaths per year could be prevented by a balanced vegan diet.


13 million deaths per year. 870 million going hungry.
Global Starvation could be prevented by using resources to produce plant-based food instead of wasting them on inefficent production of meat for wealthy nations.
1.4 billion people could be fed every year by the grains and soybeans fed to cattle in the U.S. alone.

Food Poisoning

2.8 million deaths per year.
70% of all 4 million food poisoning deaths per year are caused by contaminated animal flesh.

Type 2 Diabetes

4 million deaths per year.
Almost all cases could be prevented by a balanced vegan diet.

Mad Cow

161 dead or infected but the actual total may be higher.
Caused due to feeding cows the ground-up corpses of their fellow cows.
No treatment available. 100% fatal.
4 million cows killed to halt spread of the disease.


Approximately 200 dead.
"Hoof and mouth disease" first infected humans from livestock animals farmed for food.

774 dead as of 2004. No treatment available.
Spread to humans from civet cats slaughtered and eaten by people in China.

Bird Flu

125 dead. Experts warn a severe outbreak could kill 50 million.
Human/Avian Influenza strain evolved due to bird farming for meat.

25 million dead. 40 million infected. 3.1 million new deaths per year. 15,000 more infected daily.
Simian Immunodeficiency Virus evolved into HIV after people in Africa butchered and ate infected chimpanzees.

1918 Influenza Epidemic

50 to 100 million killed in less than a year.
The last time that a Human/Avian Influenza strain evolved due to bird farming for meat, it caused over three times as many deaths as World War I.

Every year, about 30.5 million human and 63 billion animal lives are extinguished due to the practice of eating meat.
That is so much unnecessary death. We can do better.

I got some requests for more information on HIV originating from people hunting and eating chimpanzees. Here are a few articles from CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC for those who don't want to dig through the comments.


At 9:44 AM, Blogger foodnotoil said...

I understand this whole idea, but what about true free-range farms living off the land? If you look into factory farms, they pump them full of junk chemicals that are carcinogenic & mutagenic...


The Meatrix 2

If we want idiot-meat-eaters to at least listen a little, and our goal is to reduce the suffering of these animals, then why not be vocal about people at least switching to free range organic local farms for eggs, milk, and meat...

That's the BIGGEST issue facing this movement is people view you & me as fanatical because they just see the surface of a much larger problem, without looking at the larger problem.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Xander said...

I agree that is absolutely a step in the right direction in terms of pollution, animal suffering, and (this post's topic) human suffering.

Moving to organic and true free-range products is a seperate but valid topic that should be promoted as well.

And we need to keep in mind that most of us were "idiot-meat-eaters" at one point. Focusing on "us vs them" is counter-productive as it only alienates people from each other. I think this contributes to the perception by some that those who care strongly about animal suffering are unrelatable.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little scientific back-up for your stats would go a long way. The one about AIDS coming from africans eating infected monkeys are for instance new to me. Any referrences on that one?

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Xander said...

Sure thing.
Here are articles on the origin of HIV from CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC.
A quick google search provides many more links.


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