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Factory farming by numbers – 2012 update

News Section Icon Published 15/07/2012


More demand = more animals

An increasing global appetite for meat and dairy is pushing up the number of animals farmed for food each year. And the latest calculations from Compassion in World Farming suggest that this figure is now a whopping 70 billion – nearly 10 animals for every single person on the planet.

This number represents thousands of millions of chickens, ducks, pigs, rabbits and other animals. The highest number by some margin is chickens farmed for meat, which comes in at a staggering 55 billion.

The true cost of these numbers

But this figure is more than just a number – around 70% of these animals (that's nearly 50 billion) are factory farmed, which, for many different reasons, is bad news for the farm animals, as well as people and planet.

Delving into the data

And finally, we should mention the countless farm animals that aren't included in our calculations. For example, the 70 billion figure doesn’t factor in farmed fish, which, if included, would probably more than double the amount! Fish farming is also characterised by intense confinement, disease and discomfort for billions of animals, and leads to a number of similar impacts on people and planet.


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