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Over 819 Million Land Animals Slaughtered by Canadian Meat Industry in 2018

Animal Justice April 29, 2019

Government slaughter reports analyzed by Animal Justice show that the Canadian meat industry is slaughtering more animals for food than ever before. A record-breaking 819 million land animals were killed in Canadian slaughterhouses in 2018—up from 800 million in 2017, 771 million in 2016, and 750 million in 2015. Most of the increase is because more and more chickens are being killed for meat, due to population growth, and a steady rise in per capita consumption of chickens.

Here are the numbers broken down by sector:

Meat chickens: 729,971,245
Egg-laying hens and breeding chickens: 36,346,982
Turkeys: 20,209,527
Ducks and geese: 6,843,925
Pigs: 21,369,399
Adult cows (dairy and meat): 3,151,210
Calves: 236,049
Sheeps and lambs: 522,528
Goats: 77,942

TOTAL: 818,728,807

But these numbers don’t paint the full picture. At least 41,282,000 chicks at were killed at hatcheries in 2018, most of them male chicks who were ground up alive because they are worthless to the egg industry. An additional 1,724,000 turkey chicks were killed in turkey hatcheries.

Canada also exported 5,885,837 live cows, pigs, sheep, and horses to the United States in 2018, and 17,984,215 live chickens and other birds. Millions more animals are exported by ship and air to other countries.

The government has concealed horse slaughter stats for the last two years, to “respect the business confidentiality of the horse-processing industry,” so tens of thousands of horses killed are not accounted for here. (In 2016, the last year for which data is available, over 54,000 horses were slaughtered.)

The government hasn’t yet released 2018 slaughter stats for deer, elk, bison, wild boars, or rabbits, but 627,303 of these animals were slaughtered in 2017.

These figures also don’t include aquatic animals like fishes, lobsters, crabs, and shellfishes whose individual deaths aren’t tracked—their lives are measured in tonnes. However, we do know that in 2017, Canada killed 151,324 tonnes of farmed finned fishes (e.g., salmon and trout), and 40,074 tonnes of shellfishes (e.g., mussels and clams), accounting for millions of individual lives. A further 822,349 tonnes of ocean fishes and 29,161 tonnes of freshwater fishes were killed. (The government has not yet released 2018 figures for aquatic animals.)

Other animals killed by the meat, dairy, and egg industries outside of slaughterhouses are also not accounted for in this analysis, including the millions of animals who die prematurely of illnesses and injuries on farms or during transport, and the millions of animals who are so sick and injured that they are condemned when they arrive at slaughter.

Source: Canadian agri-food sector intelligence

Photo courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals


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