A typical meat-eating person will devour about 7,000 animals in their life, according to an organization called Vegetarian Calculator.
According to the Vegetarian Calculator, roughly 11 cows, 27 pigs, 2,400 chickens, 80 turkeys, 30 sheep and 4,500 fish, are eaten in a lifetime spread out over 80 years.
And if you dine on other small animals, like rabbit, prawns, geese, ducks or squid, you will consume an additional 500 animals in your life, the Vegetarian Calculator claims.
The numbers are based on USDA statistics for the average amount of meat consumed by the average American in 2008.
The organization’s claim was part of a broader statement that going vegetarian is more beneficial to the environment. According to researchers, raising livestock is a larger contributor to global warming than the automobile industry. On the Vegetarian Calculator site, those who refrain from meat can compute both the number of animal’s lives they’ve apparently spared and the pounds of carbon dioxide they’ve kept out of the atmosphere.
On the group’s Facebook page, many meat eaters defended their dietary choices. They said that eating animals is natural and often a crucial part of a healthy, balanced diet. Many stated that raising the global population on animal-free food, as the Vegetarian Calculator might prefer, is unsustainable.
However, omnivores are increasingly favoring meat from local sources where livestock is raised and slaughtered as humanely as possible. Whether they’re getting their meat from hunting, the local farmer’s market, or a trusted butcher, more people want to know the story behind their food.
It remains unclear if the Vegetarian Calculator’s tally will convert any lifelong meat eaters. According to a recent study, only about three percent of Americans strictly adhere to a vegetarian diet.