The Scope of Slaughter in Canada

Despite the increased rates of Canadians eliminating meat from their diets, more animals are being killed than ever before. Statistics Canada publishes the number of animals slaughtered in Canada on an annual basis. Year after year, more animals are being killed in Canadian slaughterhouses.

To get a sense of the scope of how many animals are slaughtered in Canada, data can be obtained through Statistics Canada. Links to the following tables can be found here:

The totals from this data show a steady increase in the number of land animals killed each year. Note that this doesn’t show all animals killed (e.g. ducks, geese, rabbits, horses, game animals, etc.) as this data isn’t presented on Statistics Canada (or has stopped being reported on).

This data also doesn’t factor in the number of fish killed each year in Canada. In fact, Fisheries and Oceans Canada data doesn’t capture the number of individual fish killed but instead uses tonnes as a measure. In 2017, 151, 342 tonnes of fish were killed in Canada, along with 40,074 tonnes of shellfish.

2017 Canadian Aquaculture Production Statistics (tonnes)

While this data helps to inform the scale of animal deaths in Canada, it fails to show that countless other animals die on farms, in transport, or as non-productive waste products (i.e. the mass slaughter of male chicks in the egg industry).

In addition to animals killed for food, Canada has numerous fur farms across the country and produces data on the number of minks and foxes killed. For example, in 2017, 2,980,100 mink pelts were produced, with Nova Scotia being the highest producer of mink pelts in the country.

Table  32-10-0115-01 Number and value of mink pelts produced, by colour type (Canada)

Taken together, these figures show the scope of slaughter in Canada, notwithstanding the numerous other animals who die and aren’t accounted for in Statistics Canada data (or were accounted for in the past, but reporting has stopped).

Plant-based Isn’t Enough

The Dalhousie University study linked to above is encouraging in that it shows more Canadians are eliminating meat and dairy from their diets. By all accounts, this trend is expected to continue.

Plant-based dieting and meat attachment: Protein wars and the changing Canadian consumer.

However, the number of animals being slaughtered each year is expected to increase as well. We need to transition away from a society that permits the unnecessary slaughter of helpless animals, and while that begins with Canadians moving towards plant-based diets, it isn’t enough. These numbers show that individual actions alone won’t reverse the trend of animal deaths in Canada. This requires systemic change.

The aim of Factory Farm Collective is to help bring about change by exposing the immorality of the animal agriculture industry to the public. Our content will identify the scope of the problem and propose solutions that move us away from an inherently violent system that kills over a billion animals every year.