Monthly Archives: February 2011

Killing by the Numbers

The intentional, unnecessary deaths we inflict on sentient individuals of other species worldwide — mainly for food choices, and excluding animals from the water — is greater in five days than the deaths we’ve inflicted on humans in all wars and all genocides in recorded human history. Even if every non-vegan cut their current animal product consumption by 90%, it would take us only about 41 days to kill as many sentient nonhumans as we’ve killed humans in recorded history. [1]

Our treatment of individual sentient nonhumans as renewable resources — as property, things, commodities — is a moral blind spot. The reason for this moral blind spot — the reason we contribute, individually and collectively, to this extreme and senseless violence — is that we have been heavily indoctrinated into speciesism throughout our lives. Additionally, by nature, we often “rationalize” this indoctrination and ignore unpleasant facts for various reasons set forth in this essay. I hope that the magnitude and severity of the atrocity of institutional animal exploitation will encourage readers who are not already ethical vegans to open their minds and hearts to learn about what speciesism is; the extreme and unnecessary violence speciesism causes in society; and to go as far as reasonably possible to avoid speciesist attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. The two links above are a good start. There are many other links on the side bar, including information about vegan food and nutrition. Keep learning; keep growing more just, more empathetic, and more courageous.


[1] We intentionally breed, raise, and murder approximately 56 billion innocent land animals annually, worldwide. That’s about 1.07 billion weekly, or about 153 million daily. The total of the highest estimates, with some double counting, of all humans killed in all wars, all genocides, and all other human-caused atrocities in recorded human history is about 619 million. That means we kill as many innocent, sentient nonhumans in less than five days days (for food choices alone, excluding animals who live in water) than we have killed humans in recorded history.

If we cut animal product consumption by 90% worldwide, we would murder about 15.3 million daily, and within 41 days, we would murder about 627.3 million (compare to the 619 million human mass-murder total in all recorded history).

I intentionally used the highest estimates and allowed double-counting of human deaths to avoid doubts about possible inaccuracies in the source. The highest estimates did appear too high in several cases, based on other sources I’ve read of those wars or genocides. If there is anything inaccurate about the above facts, it is that we kill as many sentient nonhumans in less than three or four days (for food choices alone) than we have killed humans in recorded history.

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