Slaughter reports from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada show we killed over 800,756,236 land animals for food in 2017—up from 771 million in 2016 and 750 million in 2015. The growth is mostly because more chickens are being killed for meat. This is in part due to population growth, but per capita consumption of chickens (including chickens eaten and lost to food waste) is also steadily rising.
Here are the numbers broken down by sector:
Meat chickens: 711,459,823
Egg-laying hens and breeding chickens: 36,580,473
Ducks and geese: 6,428,062
Pigs: 20,728,785 (federally) 864,871 (provincially)
Adult cows (dairy and meat): 2,831,766 (federally) 151,484 (provincially)
Calves: 199,409 (federally) 36,640 (provincially)
Sheeps and lambs: 170,576 (federally) 371,516 (provincially)
Bisons: 9,369 (federally) 1,517 (provincially)
But these numbers don’t paint the full picture. The government concealed horse slaughter numbers this year, so tens of thousands of horses killed are likely not accounted for here.
The numbers also don’t include aquatic animals, whose deaths aren’t tracked. However, we do know that last year we killed 160,054 tonnes of farmed finned fish (e.g., salmon and trout), accounting for millions of individual lives.
Deers, elks, and wild boars are also killed in Canadian slaughterhouses but no data is available.
Animals killed by the animal agriculture industry outside of slaughterhouses are also not accounted for, including the male chicks killed at birth in hatcheries ,and the millions of animals who die prematurely of illnesses and injuries on farms and during transport.
Photo courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
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