FARM USA Confirms It: Animal Rights Movement Having No Effect on Animal Agriculture

A couple weeks ago I noted (see this article) that Farm USA had announced the 20th annual edition of World Farm Animals Day. In announcing this event, Farm USA claimed that,

Growing awareness of the adverse health consequences of meat consumption, including the largest recall of ground beef contaminated with E. coli, is driving consumers to meat alternatives offered by mainstream producers in local supermarkets.

In turn I pointed out that this was nonsense — that the total number of animals killed as part of animal agriculture operations was, in fact, increasing rapidly as people continue to switch from red meat to other animal alternatives, especially poultry and fish.

And what do you know, now Farm USA has a press release confirming that Americans are a long way from abandoning meat.

In fact, as Farm USA’s press release points out, 2002 will likely be the first year in which the number of farm animals killed exceeds 10 billion. According to Farm USA, 8,995 million animals were slaughtered in 2001, whereas in 2002 an estimated 10,108 million will be slaughtered.

What Farm USA leaves out is that this means that the number of farm animals slaughtered annually is growing far faster than is the population.

According to Farm USA’s numbers, there will be an increase of 2.6 percent in the number of animals slaughtered. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population will only increase by 0.9 percent during the same period. So the number of farm animals slaughtered is growing almost three times as fast as the U.S. population.

Like I said before, I can’t wait to see Farm USA’s press release announcing activities for the 30th, 40th, 50th, etc. World Farm Animals Day.


Animal Agriculture Claims 10 Billion Victims! Farm USA, Press Release, September 20, 2002.

Annual Projections of the Total Resident Population as of July 1: Middle, Lowest, Highest, and Zero International Migration Series, 1999 to 2100. U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 [For calculating population growth for the 2001-2002 period, I used the Middle Series projections for those years].

20th Annual World Farm Animals Day

Farm USA’s Alex Hershaft recently distributed a press release announcing the 20th annual celebration of World Farm Animals Day. The release had an odd title, “Activists bring the slaughterhouse to America’s streets.” Is that some sort of commentary on the movement’s penchant for terrorism and destruction? Hershaft has, after all, made it clear that activists who espouse violence are more than welcome at his annual animal rights convention, and no sort of criticism of such activists will be permitted therein.

The press release was filled with several dubious claims, but smartly avoided publishing any statistics on the number of farm animals killed in 1983, when the event began, to 20 years later

When World Farm Animals Day began in 1983, Americans ate a total of 180.9 pounds of meat per capita every year. For 2003, the USDA projects Americans will eat 193.6 pounds of meat per capita. But, of course, for farm animals the situation is (from Farm USA’s perspective) far worse.

Beef consumption during those 20 years declined from 74.2 pounds in 1983 to an estimated 62.0 pounds in 2003. The problem, of course, is that this means total chicken consumption skyrocketed from 34.5 pounds in 1983 to an estimated 53.3 pounds in 2003 — and it takes a lot more chickens to provide that additional 18.8 pounds of meat than it does cattle. The total number of farm animals has exploded just in the United States.

Yet, according to Farm USA,

Growing awareness of the adverse health consequences of meat consumption, including the largest recall of ground beef contaminated with E. coli, is driving consumers to meat alternatives offered by mainstream producers in local supermarkets.

Certainly there is a rise in the popularity of vegan and vegetarian products, but Farm USA makes the mistake of associating that with a total rejection of meat, which is simply not happening (my family, I suspect, is typical — we buy plenty of meat substitutes along with our chicken and turkey).

Moreover current estimates put the total number of farm animals worldwide as likely doubling this century as the per capita incomes in the underdeveloped world increase to developed world levels.

Farm USA also makes this odd warning about foot and mouth disease,

The foot-and-mouth and mad cow epidemics have devastated the European meat industry and threaten to have a similar effect in the U.S.

But, of course, the foot-and-mouth and mad cow epidemics have been a boon for American animal agriculture which has been exporting meat to make up for the problems in Europe. Neither Mad Cow nor foot-and-mouth have yet to rear their heads in the United States despite the wishful thinking of some animal rights activists.

It won’t be too long before Hershaft is issuing the press release for the 30th and then the 40th and so on observances of World Farm Animals Day.


Activists bring the slaughterhouse to America’s street. Farm USA, August 25, 2002.

Should Animal Rights Advocates Start Promoting Beef?

Earlier this week I mentioned that I though the veggie burger being offered by Burger King was doomed to failure — despite claims by some overenthusiastic vegans and vegetarians, there is no great movement among the general population to foreswear meat. This is confirmed, ironically, by statistics from animal rights activists themselves.

Alex Hershaft, who had posted to an animal rights e-mail list about the importance of Burger King veggie burger, also recently posted statistics to the same e-mail list demonstrating why the veggie burger will fail.

In 1980, per capita consumption of meat in the United Stats was 196 pounds. By 1990, that had risen to 201 pounds, and in 2001 hit 209 pounds, according to the USDA Economic Research Service.

Consumption in beef and pork products are expected to decline somewhat over the next 10 years, but largely because people are expected to eat more chicken and turkey.

Hershaft tries to spin the change as also being due to increased vegetarian/vegan options,

Consumption is now leveling off, reflecting market saturation and increase consumer interest in meat alternatives like veggie burgers, soy dogs, and soy lunch ‘meats.’

The reality is, however, that after 20 years of trying to convince Americans to adopt vegetarian lifestyles, the animal rights movement hasn’t even made a small dent in meat consumption, with the biggest consumer change being eating more chicken and turkey rather than beef and pork.

Ironically, the switch to chicken and turkey will mean a massive increase in the total number of animals killed. Assuming the USDA is correct in its estimates here is how the numbers would change over the next ten years (these are very rough estimates intended only to show the magnitude of change):

Cows killed: -4.2 million
Pigs killed: -4.7 million
Chickens killed: +639 million
Turkeys killed: +31 million
Net: +661.1 million animals

If the animal rights movement really wants to minimize the total number of animals killed for meat, it should start with a campaign addressed to American consumers to the effect that if they are going to eat meat, the most humane option is beef. Just don’t hold your breath waiting.


2002 Death Statistics (PDF). Farm USA, Winter/Spring 2002.

More than 10 billion animals killed for food in the U.S. Alex Hershaft e-mail, accessed April 24, 2002.

US animal flesh consumption at 209 lbs. Alex Hershaft, e-mail, Accessed April 24, 2002.

Do Animal Rights Activists Care More About Animals Than Human Beings?

Animal rights activists come in for a lot of criticism, but the one argument
that seems to really get under their skin is the claim that they care more about
animals than they do about human beings. Animal rights groups and individuals
will go to great lengths to show they value human life. They argue they simply
want humans to value the lives of animals.

Do animal rights activists care more about animals than human beings? Comments
made by prominent activists and groups after the September 11 terrorist attacks
speak volumes:

  • Alex Hershaft runs a group called Farm USA that manages a national animal
    rights convention. On September 23, Farm USA issued a press release quoting
    Hershaft saying, “Worldwide, every day, 125 million innocent, sentient animals
    are dreadfully abused and butchered for food. These tragedies are perpetrated
    by a worldwide animal agricultural terrorist network that is much more threatening
    to planetary survival than the Al Queda network, because it kills more people
    and animals, because it kills them unrelentingly every day, because it is
    pervasive and accepted. For every human being who dies of warfare, crime,
    or terrorism, 10,000 innocent, sentient animals die a violent death.”

  • The next day, Michael W. Fox of the Humane Society of the United States
    blamed the 9/11 attacks on humanity’s crimes against nature. In an essay distributed
    via e-mail, Fox wrote that, “Our collective violence against Nature and against
    human nature, from the plight of endangered cultures, wildlife and the environment,
    to the sufferings of indigenous peoples and of domestic animals, especially
    in factory farms and commercial laboratories around the world, needs to be
    acknowledged. Until we find atonement with Nature and all beings, human and
    non-human, how can human nature find peace and not annihilate all that our
    better natures embrace?”

  • In its October issue, the widely read animal rights magazine “Animal People”
    included an unsigned editorial linking Osama bin Laden’s fanaticism to meat
    eating. More disturbing, however, was the magazine’s comparison of farm animals
    to the victims who died onboard the hijacked planes. According to the magazine,
    “Many and perhaps most of the nine billion animals sent to slaughter in the
    U.S. each year, as well as the billions killed abroad, have at least as long
    to sense doom as did the September 11 victims. Neither are the animals’ last
    cries as unlike the cell phone calls made by some of the September 11 victims
    as the typical meat-eater would like to believe. Equally disturbing to meat-eaters
    might be awareness that doomed animals, too, often put up frantic resistance,
    like the passengers who tried to retake United Airlines flight 93…”

  • Lee Ryan, a member of the British boy band Blue, put the comparison in stark
    and crude language. Ryan, who styles himself an animal rights activist, asked
    the British tabloid The Sun, “What about whales? They are ignoring
    animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important
    . . . Who gives a f— about New York when elephants are being killed.”

  • To his credit, animal rights philosopher Peter Singer did criticize the
    idea of comparing the victims of the September 11 attacks to animals killed
    for food, but United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis vigorously denounced Singer
    for this. According to Davis, “For 35 million chickens in the United States
    alone, every single night is a terrorist attack.” Davis went on to suggest
    that since most of those who died in the terrorist attacks were likely meat
    eaters, the attacks may have actually resulted in a net reduction in suffering.

  • Finally, just a few days ago Farm USA announced the schedule for its upcoming
    Animal Rights 2002 National Conference. Describing the goal of this year’s
    conference, Farm USA’s press release said, “Animal Rights 2002 is our movement’s
    first national conference since the terrible tragedy of September 11 and its
    aftermath. It is dedicated to exposing and challenging the terror perpetrated
    every single day against billions of innocent, sentient nonhuman animals.”

Despite the frequent claims that animal rights activist do not care more about
animals than they do about human beings, in each of these cases human suffering
from the Sept. 11 attacks is minimized, ignored, and even celebrated. At best
human suffering is used simply as a segue to talk about the real issue, which
is always the alleged suffering of animals.

Do animal rights activists care more about animals than they do about human
beings? Of course they do.

9/11 Terrorist Attacks and Animal Rights 2002

Farm USA recently announced they were accepting registration for the Animal Rights 2002 National Conference scheduled for June 28 – July 3, 2002. Of course, FARM USA could not pass up the opportunity to invoke the 9/11 terrorist attacks in describing the purpose of the upcoming conference,

Animal Rights 2002 is our movement’s first national conference since the terrible tragedy of September 11 and its aftermath. It is dedicated to exposing and challenging the terror perpetrated every day against billions of innocent, sentient nonhuman animals.

These folks never learn, do they?


Animal Rights 2002 National Conference Program. URL: Accessed: January 16, 2002.

World Farm Animals Day this Friday

On Friday, Oct. 2, animal rights
activists will take part in demonstrations and protests marking World
Farm Animals Day.

According to a Farm USA press release,
“This year’s observance will target atrocities perpetrated in U.S.
slaughterhouses and condoned by USDA in violation of the Humane Slaughter

Farm USA portrays itself as mostly
concerned with preventing abuse, which most Americans would agree should
be prevented, but its literature indicates its ultimate goal is to end
the use of animals for food:

We view these developments as but a beachhead for our continuing campaign
to end the wanton abuse and killing of billions of innocent, sentient
animal in factory farms and at slaughter houses.


Press Release, Farm USA, September 1, 1998.