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I was issued with a challenge the other day:

ok you show me that as veganism has increased, animal slaughter has decreased.

Which in my mind is nonsensical, because

  • There are other factors at that could push numbers up (e.g. cheaper/more convenient meat)

  • It's the basic rules of supply and demand

  • It applies equally / more so to vegetarianism

but I feel I should answer it; he has asked me to give him some sources after all and he is a good friend of mine, so I can only assume it comes with some sincerity...

I was wondering if anyone had some good sources to go with here. I found some good ones myself, like this, this and this and I think the US one is in fact pretty damning (when you look at the drop between 2014 and 2017) but the UK statistics (my country) are not as helpful, partly because they stop at 2014.

I wonder if there is a stronger way I can show this correlation or perhaps I should approach it as proving the dynamics of supply and demand? I would love to say "why does Nokia not manufacture the 3310 any more?" but of course they recently started doing that again haha. Has anyone got a really good example of something that was really popular that has now effectively died out due to lack of demand?

  • Another thing that frustrates me about this is it would be like saying in the 1800s, how does choosing not to own a slave will help lead to abolition of slavery or show me that voting for labour will help put them in power over conservatives..... – chrispepper1989 Jan 5 '18 at 11:17
  • Someone has pointed out to me: "The first one doesn't seem relevant as it's from over 2 years ago and the biggest trend in veganism is really the past couple of years, it also measures that number against 8 years previously, rather than 1-2 years. It also contains words that suggest that veganism is not as powerful as omnivore reduction" – chrispepper1989 Jan 5 '18 at 13:11
  • Maybe some documentaries would give you good arguments: What the health, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Food Choices, The True Cost, and many more... – Andrés Chandía Jun 11 '18 at 11:51
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As a disclaimer, I am not sure you can prove anything to someone who is close minded and it is self evident that animal slaughter rates are linked to consumption of animal products.

With that said, compile the international statistics.

Here is a list of approximate rates of Vegitarianism by Country

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country

And here is a list of meat consumption, one measure of slaughter

https://vegetarian.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004716

So, not to single out just these 2,

US: about 3% Vegetarian about 280 Lbs meat / person / year

India: about 40 % Vegetarian and meat consumption is about 11 Lbs meat / person / year

And so on, just compile the list. With decent references this is about as good a measure you are likely to get.

To show the correlation, you can put the data into an Excel spreadsheet (or libre office if you prefer) and use statistics to show the correlation - https://researchbasics.education.uconn.edu/using-excel-to-calculate-and-graph-correlation-data/

  • This is a great answer, I was trying to tackle this from, increasing vegans, lowers slaughter, but really it makes so much more sense to show it the other way round, more meat eaters equals more slaughter! He is close minded but he keeps raising a particular piece of information I out out ages ago and then saying it can't be true because of above, so I think proving the first fact is undeniably true might be an important seed for him :) – chrispepper1989 Jan 8 '18 at 15:11
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    @chrispepper1989 You can put the data into an Excel spreadsheet (or libre office if you prefer) and use statistics to show the correlation - researchbasics.education.uconn.edu/… – Panther Jan 8 '18 at 15:48
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    Be careful; meat consumption also varies greatly between countries with similar rates of vegetarianism. Take Denmark (4% vegetarian) and China (4% to 5% vegetarian). Denmark consumes 222 lbs/person/year of meat, while China consumes only 32.2 lbs/person/year. – Vaelus Jan 10 '18 at 5:06
  • @Vaelus - yes, that is why you use statistical analysis to show the trend rather then relying on single points. If you look at examples here - researchguides.library.vanderbilt.edu/… you will see that there is a statistical correlation despite variations in the data. I do not know how accurate the data I linked may be nor what the statistical analysis may show, but I am guessing it will show a correlation. – Panther Jan 10 '18 at 5:20
  • Perhaps this answer should be expanded at some point to include some statistical analysis. More importantly though, I think the answer should emphasize that the statistical analysis is necessary, because only using a single data point (or a list of cherry picked data points) leads to a very weak argument. – Vaelus Jan 10 '18 at 5:22
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The hypothetical village story does not convince. I'd argue that the meat supplier simply finds himself with 20 chickens he can sell to another village.
Because he needs to sell the chickens the price may fall and this can cause other people to eat more chicken.
No, not convincing enough.

I think it's the wrong approach to try to prove the challenge. Chew on this:

  1. Perhaps my personal veganism didn't cause impact today but at least I don't want to be part of the system;
  2. Turn it around: If the goal (as a planet) is to slaughter fewer animals,we have to eat less meat. It is the only way and I'm doing my bit right now.
  3. Big movement: My not eating meat makes it more acceptable for others to do the same. Perhaps I have not lowered animal slaughter today, but I am part of a movement that will cause change in the future. Big changes take time.
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On a simple example:

There is a village with 100 families. All families eat meat so the daily need is 100 kg of chicken.

Let 1 chicken equal 1kg of meat.  

Day 1 - 1 family stops eating meat. 
Day 2 - The daily need of the village is now 99kg. 
Day 3 - Another family stops the meat.

After 30 days, 20 families stopped consuming the meat.

Now the daily need of the village is 80kg, and so the meat supplier would not need to kill 100 chickens but only 80. 

What would happen after 3 months if 50 families stopped the meat? The overall need of the village would be 50kg. 

Clearly, going vegetarian/vegan reduces the need for animal slaughter.

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