And as my colleague Kelsey Piper has explained, each year the average American eats about 23 chickens, compared to just over one-tenth of one cow. Chicken has also become extremely popular; Americans eat twice as much of it now as they did in the 1970s.
All this bothers Brown, the Beyond Meat CEO, a lot.
“Animal welfare is a really important consideration,” he said. “In terms of just the number of sentient beings — the sheer number of captive beings — chickens are up there. It’s a different thing than beef, for sure.”
There is a new research paper out. Author's summary: "My coauthors and I apply methodology previously used to estimate the overall burden of disease in human populations ... This leads us to conclude that policymakers interested in alleviating animal suffering ought to focus on chickens."
Still think vegetarians and vegans are impacting animal consumption? Please see this.
Think that vegetarianism is taking over? The most thorough analysis, by Animal Charity Evaluators, says otherwise: "Around 1% of adults both self-identify as vegetarians and report never consuming meat. It seems that this percentage has not changed substantially since the mid-1990s."
"The European Union produced a record 33.5 billion pounds of poultry in 2018.... At this rate, the EU will set a record for poultry consumption in each of the next 10 years. It’s hard to imagine just how many animals we’re talking about. At any given time, there are about 23 billion chickens alive–or three chickens for every one human being on earth."
Does this upset you? Does it make you angry? Sad? Driven to change the world as quickly as possible? Us, too. Please consider donating to One Step. Your donation will be doubled! And we will spend it with the utmost focus on helping animals.
Why focus on animals? Here is just another example (video) of how other arguments to try to get people to change their diet will often hurt animals in the real world.
As Nobel Laureate Herb Simon pointed out, people don't seek to find the perfect solution. They look for something that is better and "good enough." When we make an argument where red meat is the worst and a certain form of veganism is the best, the vast majority of people choose somewhere in the middle. And this almost always means eating many more birds.