Animal Kill Counter
In September 2008 we (ADAPTT) adapted the Kill Counter to the ADAPTT website by streamlining its code and adding a rough estimation of 90 billion marine animals killed annually worldwide for food. In November 2008 Action for Animals posted on their blog a significantly improved, more comprehensive version with more specific description of the animals slaughtered.
As of June 2009 we have modified our own Kill Counter to incorporate the best features of Action for Animals' and ADAPTT's versions. In July 2011 we supplemented our Kill Counter with estimated kills of dogs and cats for food, chiefly in Asian countries. These estimates originate in the website Animal People Online. It is also important to remember all the animals in the meat, dairy and egg industries who are killed but never eaten because their remains go to waste.
Of the more than 200 countries researched, the top three—the United States, China, and Brazil—consume a staggering 46 percent of these animals as food. The United States alone consumes roughly 20 percent of all animals slaughtered for food even though it contains less than five percent of the world's population.
It's important to note that, since most of the available data are now eight years old as of 2011, these estimates are extremely conservative. It is now quite likely that in many of the categories noted, the current kill rates are as much as 10 percent higher than what is indicated here. As soon as more accurate statistics become available, ADAPTT pledges to update its Kill Counter accordingly.
For discussion of how marine kills were estimated, see the last section of this page, Estimating Slaughter of Marine Animals.
How to get the Animal Kill Counter
Copy and paste the code to your favorite text or HTML editor for your own use. We encourage you to experiment with this code, since we cannot guarantee that it will work on all pages in all circumstances as written. However, before you modify any portion of the code, be sure that you know what you're doing—or invite an experienced programmer-friend to assist you.
Whether you use Action for Animals' version or ours, it would be appropriate, and much appreciated, to give credit to its source, as well as linking to that source. Credit can be in the form of outright HTML, or an HTML comment.
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Estimating Slaughter of Marine Animals
But these are all moving targets at best. Even the world's gross production and capture, measured in millions of metric tons, varies from year to year with changes in oceanic and environmental circumstances, and changes in local and global economies. These factors affect not only gross weights, but also the composition of catches, which also varies as one moves from country to country. When we add to the equation the staggering variety of marine animals fished and farmed for food, from the largest whales to the tiniest shrimp, we find that one cannot hope to calculate worldwide marine animal slaughter beyond a single significant digit of accuracy—an "order-of-magnitude" calculation which in this case amounts to the nearest tens of billions of individuals.
These ratios were then projected across the entire world to arrive at our estimate of 90 billion (with the hopeful assumption that whatever other countries fall short of the ratio will have been handily offset by China's predomination of the worldwide fishing industry).2
We believe that our estimate is conservative, and errs on the side of caution. Still, estimates such as this can be checked against another test according to which we work backwards from our estimate, by dividing gross annual production worldwide (measured in millions of metric tons) by our estimated number of individuals, to arrive at the supposed weight of an abstraction that we might call "the average marine animal." Total world fisheries captures and aquaculture, as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and others for the period 1996 through 2002, have yielded results of 120.2, 122.5, 117.8, 126.6, 130.4, 128.8, and 133.0 millions of metric tons respectively.3 These figures in turn, along with our estimate, yield an "average marine animal's weight" of from 1.3 to 1.5 kilograms (2.9 to 3.3 pounds). These figures do not appear to be at all unreasonable. In fact, if the world's fisheries incline to capture and/or production of animals smaller than these estimates suggest, we may find the annual marine slaughter to be much higher than we have anticipated here.
2, 3 Readers interested in pursuing these issues further should consult the following sources: