FARM | VegSource Interactive, Inc.

Number of People Killed
by Meat Consumption in 1999

by F.A.R.M.

August 15, 2001 -- In 1999, 1.29 million, or 54%, of all U.S. deaths were attributed to diseases for which consumption of animal products represents a substantial risk factor.

The estimate was obtained by adding the number of deaths caused by each of 14 diseases for which physicians specializing in the relationship between diet and health have identified meat consumption as a substantial risk factor. The number of 1999 deaths by each disease came from the National Vital Statistics Report published in June 2001 by the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Identification of meat-linked diseases was conservative. Thus, cancer of urinary organs was not included, although a plant-based diet reduces the risk. For 'ill-defined' and 'other' diseases, the number of deaths included in the total was prorated according to the ratio of meat-linked deaths to all other deaths.

Source: USPHS, National Center for Health Statistics "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 1999," National Vital Statistics Report, June 26, 2001

More interesting statistics:

Number of Animals Killed for Food in 2000

9,713 million animals were killed for food in the US in 2000, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

This includes 41.7 million cattle and calves, 115.2 million pigs, 4.3 million sheep and lambs, 8,792 million 'broiler' chickens, 429.7 million laying hens, 304 million turkeys, and 26.1 million ducks.

The total number is expected to rise by 1.9% to 9,906 in 2001, including 40 million cattle and calves (down 4.3%), 113 million pigs (down 2.1%), 4 million sheep (down 7.5%), 308 turkeys (up 1.3%), 8,967 million 'broilers' (up 2%,) 446 million laying hens (up 3.6%), and 28.2 million ducks (up 7.4 %).

In addition to the 8,856 million animals reported in USDA 2000 slaughter reports, another 857 million, or 8.8% of the total suffered lingering deaths from disease, malnutrition, injury, or suffocation, associated with today's factory farming practices.

The number of 'other' or non-slaughter deaths, was estimated on the basis of hatchery reports and interviews with agricultural experts.

The worldwide number of animals killed for food in 2000 was 45 billion, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. This included 306 million cattle, buffalo, and calves, 1.2 billion pigs, 795 million sheep and goats, and 42.7 billion chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese.

The figures exclude some small countries and 'non-slaughter' deaths, which are generally not reported.

Please contact Lucy Goodrum at FARM with any questions regarding the above figures. 1-888-FARMUSA.


  1. USDA/ NASS "Poultry Slaughter 2000 Summary," February 2001
  2. USDA/ NASS "Livestock Slaughter 2000 Summary," March 2001
  3. USDA/NASS "Hatchery Production 2000 Summary," April 2001
  4. USDA/ NASS "Turkey Hatchery," July 2001 5. USDA/ NASS "Meat Animals Production, Disposition, & Income 2000," April 2001
  5. USDA/ NASS "Chicken and Eggs," Monthly Reports, July 2001
  6. USDA/ NASS "Turkey Hatchery," Monthly Reports, July 2001
  7. USDA/NASS "Poultry Slaughter," Monthly Reports, August 2001
  8. USDA/ NASS "Livestock Slaughter," Monthly Reports, July 2001