OTTAWA—Data released by the federal government and analyzed by Animal Justice shows that over 800 million farmed animals were killed in Canadian slaughterhouses last year. This record-breaking figure is a steady increase over previous years, up from 771 million in 2016 and 750 million in 2015.
The growth is largely because Canadians are switching to chicken and away from beef and pork because of health concerns. Chickens are much smaller animals, so it takes many more of them to meet the demand for meat previously absorbed by larger cows and pigs.
However, a large body of evidence demonstrates that diets rich in animal foods and low in plant-based foods have negative health consequences. Predominantly plant-based diets that include legumes (such as beans, lentils, and tofu) are associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and obesity, and with increased longevity.
In 2016—the most recent year for which dat…