Animal Flesh Consumption & Demand Down

Good news from the good folks over at Vegan Outreach and Counting Animals (source of graph below): animal flesh consumption and demand are down! (Note: this is only for the US.)

Here’s part of Harish’s intro to the graph:

“The USDA, on November 16, released its most recent forecast of meat production and consumption through the rest of 2012 and the year 2013. These projections indicate a continued decline in the per capita consumption of all four major meat categories: beef, pork, chicken and turkey. The graph [above] plots the per capita consumption (as implied by per capita disappearance of a product into the market) of meat products beginning with 1966 (the first year for which per capita disappearance data is available for broiler chickens in the food availability data released by the USDA.)”

Nice. Still a long way to zero, but nice to at least see that consumption is going down.

Here’s a bit more from Harish on the consumption side of things:

“Per capita chicken consumption is projected to drop by more than 8% in 2013 compared to the peak reached in 2006. During this same period, per capita beef consumption is projected to drop by about 17%. The per capita pork consumption is projected to drop by almost 11% since a recent peak in 2007 and the per capita turkey consumption is projected to drop by more than 9% since a recent peak in 2008.”

Now, as Harish points out, that’s all just about consumption. Demand is another matter. If you want to get into the economics talk (e.g. compensated demand elasticity).

If you just want to get to the kicker of it, here’s a useful table and Harish’s well considered conclusions (emphasis added):

Take a look at the last two columns and note the larger percentage change in the last column in comparison to the last but one. The actual per capita meat consumption has declined far more than what can be attributed to changes in the price of meat brought about by any of the reasons usually given including reduced production, higher feed costs and drought.

Nearly 70% of the decline in per capita consumption of beef since 2006 is likely due to a decline in demand. More than 93% of the decline in per capita consumption of chicken is also likely due to a decline in demand.

Dear animal advocates, rejoice this holiday season in the knowledge that the demand for meat—and not just consumption—is on the decline!

Again, a big thanks to Counting Animals and Vegan Outreach for the work they’re doing. (Note that any donations to Vegan Outreach will be doubled right now by a matching donor.)