Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Us evil meat eaters

with 6 comments

In 1999 the average US citizen allegedly consumed 273 pounds of meat. That’s a lot of meat – around 12 ounces of meat per day. I can’t believe anyone can eat that much meat.

Figures for all industrialised countries add up to 169 pounds of meat per person, or 7.4 oz per day.

When I am on the optimal diet, which is protein-restricted, I eat around 3-4 oz of meat per day on most days as I eat eggs for lunch as well as breakfast. Otherwise I eat up to 6 oz of meat per day. Most of the animal fat I eat comes from butter and dairy products, or beef tallow. Lets be generous and say I get through about 2 lbs of meat a week. That adds up to 108 pounds per year – not even my own body weight.

As a former vegetarian I am interested in finding out exactly how many animals I kill a year. It turns out that as a teenager I was deeply misled by some vegetarian literature that claimed the average meat eater ate several cows, sheep and pigs every year.

“An 1,150 lb. steer doesn’t yield 1,150 lbs. of beef. On the average, that steer yields a 714 lb. carcass. Approximately 146 lbs. of fat and bone are trimmed off
leaving about 568 lbs. of retail beef cuts. Very little of the other 582 lbs. is lost, however. It includes about 27 lbs. of variety meats (liver, heart, tongue, tripe, sweetbreads and brains), plus by-products that are used in a variety of foods, cosmetics, clothing and a host of manufactured items. These by-products are also an important source of life-saving, life-improving medicines such as insulin and heparin.” Kansas Beef

So the average cow yields around 568 lbs of meat. That means:

It would take the average American (eating 273 lbs of meat per year) 2.13 years to eat one cow, and they would eat 37 cows per lifetime if we assumed they each lived to the grand old age of 78.

It would take an average citizen of an industrialised country (eating 169lbs of meat per year) 3.44 years to eat one cow, and they would eat 23 per lifetime.

It would take me (eating 108 lbs of meat per year) 5.39 years to eat one cow, and I would eat 14 cows per lifetime.

If I stuck to eating eggs at lunch which is what I normally do, it would take me (eating just under 80 lbs of meat per year) 7.29 years to eat a cow, and I would eat ten or eleven per lifetime.

It would also take me (eating 108 lbs of meat per year) over a year to eat a pig weighing in at an average of 130 lbs of meat, or just under a year to eat two lambs, weighing in at an average of 45-50 lbs of meat each. See South Dakota State University meat yield statistics for proof.

If I ate all of my meat as chicken, I would get through one chicken every week, so I would eat 52 per year.

If I ate all of my meat as fish I would get through anywhere between 365 small fish, or 20-30 large fish like salmon or cod. I would also contribute to an ecological disaster in the North Sea, and contribute to wiping out wild salmon species due to the parasites that escape from Scottish salmon farms.

At 5.39 years to eat one cow, I could eat anything between 108 to 1,967 fish in the same period. How many fish are worth one cow? I don’t know. I have a friend, Dave, who regards selecting whether an animal should live or die based on its intelligence as a form of racism or fascism.

The relatively small amount of meat I eat every day provides me with 100% of my RDA of B12, which cannot be achieved from any other source than animal foods (even eggs, dairy and white fish are quite low in B12). It also provides me with between 25-30% of my RDA of almost all other B vitamins, as well as copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, selenium, essential fatty acids, and CLA.

I have maintained in the past that one can be quite healthy on a vegetarian diet, the issue is how you carry out that diet (it is rarely done correctly in terms of nutrition) and that you must be aware that you will never be as healthy as an omnivore. By this I mean that at certain periods in your life (such as during pregnancy or old age) you will be more vulnerable to vitamin deficiencies, infections, and the potential for chronic disease. When adjusted for extraneous factors, all-cause death rate for vegetarians is considerably higher than omnivores, and is significantly higher for women than for men. Vegetarian women can expect their average lifespan to be foreshortened by around ten years, which is why vegetarianism per se makes me very nervous.

I do not suggest that there is one ‘true’ diet for everyone. Health problems can be caused by a variety of different factors. Some people can cope with the strains of a vegetarian diet, some people can’t. Some people can’t tolerate wheat, or dairy, or a variety of plant foods. Some people have allergies to fish, or peanuts. Some people can only handle small amounts of carbohydrate, or protein due to diabetes or kidney disorders. If we excluded every potentially harmful food from the diet, there would be very little left to eat. We can however learn from various problems and minimise the chance of harm to our own health by avoiding or minimising the most harmful foods, and ensuring that we get enough of the most useful foods. Within that framework there is a great deal of leeway for individual choice and variety.

Because my moral system places such emphasis on the importance of human life and quality of life, I cannot advocate something that is known to make humans sick, nor approve of it in those who are not completely well.

Vegetarianism and veganism is often justified by naive assumptions about the nature of farming and farm land. Farm land that is used for grazing is rarely able to be ploughed for vegetables, so vegetarian farms are unable to produce the same calorie yield as omnivorous farms. Vegetables require fertilisation by animal manure in order to grow, something lacking on a vegetarian or vegan farm. There is very little pragmatism in a vegan or vegetarian system: purely vegan farms collapse rapidly without support from an ecosystem of animals. On a vegetarian farm, animals kept for dairy, eggs, or wool inevitably die. Should they receive burials? The average lifespan of a dairy cow is between 7 and 25 years, and one dairy cow would feed me for five years, not to mention all of the chickens, ducks, and sheep, which have shorter natural lifespans. It hardly makes vegetarianism worthwhile in the greater scheme of animal life and death.

The reason I don’t wait for farm animals to drop dead before I eat them? Because being a sheep, pig, or cow is a life of monotony. It consists of sun, rain, grass, fields, barns, hay, mud, being bred if you are lucky, giving birth, sun, rain, grass, fields, barns, hay, mud… There is no room in the life of a cow for personal development, education, epiphanies, love, discernment, philosophy, hate, politics, thought, or discovery. The average cow feels two emotions: anxiety and contentment. Does it really matter in this scheme whether a cow lives for two years, or four, or ten? Better to be thankful that the cow lived at all. It would not have lived at all under a vegetarian system. How do vegetarians justify that?

Somehow I can live with the guilt of eating one fifth of a cow, or one pig, or two lambs per year if it means that I and my fellow human descendants can enjoy an extra decade of life, or a life absent of health problems and human suffering.


Written by alienrobotgirl

17 March, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Posted in Vegetarianism

6 Responses

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  1. Today in a Belgian newspaper:”Average Belgian eats 1801 animals in a lifetime”One third of a horse, 5 cows/calves, 7 goats/sheep, 24 rabbits and other game, 42 pigs, 43 turkeys and other poultry (except chicken), 789 fish and 891 chickens. (and apparently, if one looks at the picture visualizing it, also 83.214 shellfish): (EVA stands for Ethical Vegetarian Alternative: one were to restrict protein like in optimal diet, and eat the EGGS of the chicken instead of the chicken itself, how much that number would fall!!


    1 October, 2007 at 8:59 pm

  2. Hi Brecht!Don’t be fooled – these statistics have been presented by vegetarians trying to shock people into not eating meat! Either they can’t add up, or they’re downright liars! I was fooled by statistics output by vegetarian groups like these – and as I result I damaged my health by becoming a vegetarian for several years. As you can see from my post above, the statistics don’t even approach that many animals! If I could find who gave me those made-up statistics, I would sue them!

    Alien Robot Girl

    2 October, 2007 at 11:23 am

  3. […] anti-vegetarian statistics Posted in Vegetarianism by the witch on March 18th, 2006 Based on yesterday’s anti-vegetarian rant, I thought it would be interesting to find out how many lower life forms I munch my way through […]

  4. […] as I was causing many more animal deaths than I would have if I had eaten land animals. Then I did some maths, educated myself of a few facts, reassessed my moral code, and I will never go back to […]

  5. […] I guess I’ve been eating about 4 ounces per day, for about five days per week. Based on the statistics I published a few months ago, the average beef steer yields 568 lbs or 9088 ounces of meat. This means at my […]

  6. On October 2, 2007 Alien Robot Girl wrote: “Hi Brecht! Don’t be fooled – these statistics have been presented by vegetarians trying to shock people into not eating meat! Either they can’t add up, or they’re downright liars! I was fooled by statistics output by vegetarian groups like these”

    Please, check:


    15 May, 2009 at 2:46 am

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