Globally, slaughter of farmed animals for food increased to more than 50 BILLION individuals in 2003, not including any types of aquatic animals. The estimates, which are compiled and provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, are based on reports from more than 210 countries and territories. It is important to note that, while fairly comprehensive, these estimates may be significantly understated due to some countries or territories not reporting statistics and exclusions of some types of slaughter.
With nearly 46 billion slaughtered in 2003, chickens accounted for 93% all types of farmed animals included in the FAO database. Following chickens, more ducks were slaughtered for their flesh than any other animal; approximately 2.3 billion ducks were slaughtered in 2003. Not considering birds, the slaughter of pigs was highest with more than 1.2 billion pigs slaughtered in 2003, followed by more than 850 million rabbits slaughtered last year. See below for a summary of the minimum 2003 worldwide slaughter estimates, by type of animal.
-- 45,895 million (45.9 billion) chickens
-- 2,262 million (2.3 billion) ducks
-- 1,244 million (1.2 billion) pigs
-- 857 million rabbits
-- 691 million turkeys
-- 533 million geese
-- 515 million sheep
-- 345 million goats
-- 292 million cows and calves (for beef and veal)
-- 65 million other rodents (not including rabbits)
-- 63 million pigeons and other birds
-- 23 million buffalo
-- 4 million horses
-- 3 million donkeys and mules
-- 2 million camels (and other camelids)
These numbers indicate some significant changes compared to slaughter statistics from 1998. Over the past five years, slaughter of birds for meat has increased substantially, driven by a 30% increase in ducks and a 20% increase in chickens slaughtered. Goose slaughter also increased significantly, 17% over the five-year period, while turkey slaughter grew at a relatively slow 4% since 1998. The period from 1998 to 2003 also saw significant global increases in the slaughter of rabbits (21%), goats (19%), camels (12%), asses (10%), sheep (10%), buffalo (10%), and pigs (9%). On the other hand, the same five-year period saw decreases in the numbers of rodents (down 10%, not including rabbits) and mules (down 22%) slaughtered for their flesh.
According to the FAO database, farmed animal production is highly concentrated in a handful of countries, most notably China and the United States. For each of the ten most slaughtered animals, at least half of the total 2003 slaughter is accounted for by the five highest-production countries. China slaughters more ducks, pigs, rabbits, geese, lambs, goats, cows and calves than any other country in the world. The US slaughters more chickens and turkeys than any other country, and is second only to China when it comes to pig slaughter. Overall, in 2003 China slaughtered more than 10.5 billion animals for their flesh, while the US slaughtered more than 9.5 billion animals, not including aquatic animals in either case.
FAO Statistical Database - Agriculture
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