At One Step, we often get questions about why we focus on chickens.
On the one hand, people write with arguments about how terrible red meat is for the environment or human health. Our bottom line isn’t to save the Earth (which is impossible). We care only about reducing suffering as much as possible. In this realm, anything said against red meat leads to significantly more suffering. As Ginny Messina pointed out, Bad news for red meat is bad news for chickens … and for suffering.
The numbers are pretty staggering. The average person in the US will be responsible for the slaughter of about 26 factory-farmed land animals this year. If you could convince them to give up all beef, pork, and dairy, they still would be responsible for the slaughter of over 25 animals.
It isn’t all about numbers, though. It is also about the actual suffering. And here the picture gets even bleaker. For example, according to Harish Sethu, about as many birds suffer to death even before getting to the slaughterhouse as all the cows and pigs killed combined.
Just think about that.
It is no wonder that when Veterinary Professor John Webster said that modern poultry production is “in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal.”
Combined with the numbers and the cruelty is opportunity. Given the audience most likely to change, what potential change would have the greatest impact? In this case, the answer is again chickens.
And although some measures of aquatic animals killed are extremely large, the suffering caused and opportunity bring us back to focusing on chickens. (Much more on the question of fish in this blog post, and discussed in this podcast.)
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