Is there evidence that animal use is increasing?

There has been some underinformed debate recently about whether animal use has increased and whether there is any evidence for that it is increasing.  Although this trend is documented fairly well in Gary L. Francione's books (among others sources), I spent about 10 minutes using this amazing tool called Google.  This led me to the ultra-secret Web site of the United Nations, and here you go, the smoking gun from the UN's report, Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases:


"For the large majority of people in the world, particularly in developing countries, livestock products remain a desired food for nutritional value and taste. Excessive consumption of animal products in some countries and social classes can, however, lead to excessive intakes of fat.

Table 4. Per capita consumption of livestock products
Region
Meat (kg per year)
Milk (kg per year)
1964 - 1966
1997 - 1999
2030
1964 - 1966
1997 - 1999
2030
World
24.2
36.4
45.3
73.9
78.1
89.5
Developing countries
10.2
25.5
36.7
28.0
44.6
65.8
Near East and North Africa
11.9
21.2
35.0
68.6
72.3
89.9
Sub-Saharan Africaa
9.9
9.4
13.4
28.5
29.1
33.8
Latin America and the Caribbean
31.7
53.8
76.6
80.1
110.2
139.8
East Asia
8.7
37.7
58.5
3.6
10.0
17.8
South Asia
3.9
5.3
11.7
37.0
67.5
106.9
Industrialized countries
61.5
88.2
100.1
185.5
212.2
221.0
Transition countries
42.5
46.2
60.7
156.6
159.1
178.7
a Excludes South Africa.
Source: Adapted from reference 4 with the permission of the publisher.
The growing demand for livestock products is likely to have an undesirable impact on the environment." [Bolding my emphasis].

I hope advocates will note the steady increase of animal product consumption across the world, including industrialized countries (where it sees steady historical as well as projected increases -- per capita, not overall -- per capita).  The consumption of animal products is up. 

There seems little opportunity for debate here (except to refuse the United Nations' science). Over the last 30 years of animal welfare advocacy, it has failed to correlate with an overall reduction in the consumption of animal products and instead has coincided with a rise.

Whether welfare measures make people more comfortable consuming animal products, the evidence clearly and unmistakably suggests that welfare reform and activity has not reduced consumption in any meaningful way. The waste of resources (whether time, money, or both) on activism that we know does not reduce animal use poses advocates with a moral and practical problem  In part, this is why a consistent and clear abolitionist vegan message is important to animal advocacy.

I encourage everyone to read this top secret report for themselves.


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