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Impact on Animals

We've reduced most of the mammals and birds on earth to human commodities. Non-human animals are sentient creatures who share many of our complex mental and emotional processes. Consider how consumer actions relate to the animal issues below.

We Animals Media Pig

Credit: Seb Alex  / We Animals Media

Livestock suffering

The U.S. slaughters over 9 billion land animals annually (chickens, pigs, cows) for food. Of those animals, 99 percent are raised in factory farms, which cause immense suffering for animals with the ability to feel pain much like house pets can. Consider how many animals suffer globally for a product many people over-consume.

Learn more: (2018)

Marinelife disruption

The U.S. alone kills 4,756,997 tons of fish for food annually. This number would likely double if it included by-catch, animals caught and killed unintentionally and never consumed. Consider the number and variety of animals we remove from the ocean's ecosystem globally.

Learn more: (2018)

We Animals Media Fish in Nets

Credit: Andrew Skowron  / We Animals Media

We Animals Media Dairy Cows

Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

Dairy cow suffering

The U.S. uses more than 9 million cows for dairy production annually. These cows commonly endure artificial insemination, calf separation after birthing, and mastitis utter infections. On average, heifers are “culled” for cheap meat after about three years of production. Consider how many cows suffer globally to create a product for which many of us have an intolerance.

Learn more: (2016)

Layer hen suffering

The U.S. uses more than 300 million hens for egg production annually. Most of these hens have their beaks cut and live in cages where they are unable to stand or move. Consider how many hens suffer globally for a product we don't need to eat.

Learn more: (2016)

We Animals Media Layer Hen

Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

We Animals Media Macaque for Testing

Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

Animals in testing

The U.S. reported use of 767,622 animals for research in 2015. If this number included mice, rats, and birds, it’s estimated the count would be closer to 100 million. Consider how many animals we kill globally for research when alternative testing measures exist.

Learn more: (2016)

Animals for fashion

In the U.S., four million animals are trapped for fur annually. This number does not include animals farmed for fur, which would add another four million just in farmed mink. Consider how many animals we kill globally for fashion items for which we have alternatives.

Learn more: (2016)

We Animals Media Fur Cage

Credit: Stefano Belacchi / Essere Animali / We Animals Media

Doing the least harm

And, ideally, the most good


We're all animals here, and isn't death a natural part of life? Don't lions eat zebras? Yes, but nature has never seen a mass genocide at the hand of one species like what humans have done with modern agriculture.

It's a fairy tale to think we can eliminate all animal suffering at human hands. By merely existing, we cause habitat destruction and accidental deaths. However, we have many viable alternatives to animal foods, product testing, and clothing materials.

For ways to reduce the amount of animal suffering required to make products, head to the consumer solutions page.


Now consider this...

With the very purchases we make that cause animal suffering, we may be trying to fill a void left by our disconnection from other beings and our innate desire to coexist with them more harmoniously. What irony.


If you find joy in connecting with house pets, farm animals, or animals in nature, think about how you might extend this experience of connection and compassion to even more animals to find joy.

To think deeply about how our consumer culture has normalized certain forms of animal cruelty, check out the cultural context page.

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