According to USDA data, it takes more than 200 chickens to provide the same amount of meat as one steer. So everyone who gives up beef for chicken causes hundreds more animals to be raised and slaughtered (and chickens generally have much worse lives than cattle*). This is why there are literally billions more animals suffering intensely on U.S. factory farms and being butchered in industrial slaughterhouses today than 20 years ago.
To put it another way: the impact of many, many vegetarians will be offset by just one person who gives up eating mammals and replaces even some of those meals with chickens and fishes.
Regardless of how we think people should react to the information we present, as the animals' voice, we simply must avoid making arguments that can possibly lead anyone to eat more animals.
Enter the Chicken Shed," pdf, an excerpt from The Way We Eat: "Professor John Webster, of the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Science, has said: 'Broilers are the only livestock that are in chronic pain for the last 20% of their lives. They don't move around, not because they are overstocked, but because it hurts their joints so much.' Sometimes vertebrae snap, causing paralysis. Paralyzed birds, or birds whose legs have collapsed, cannot get to food or water, and – because the growers don’t bother to, or don’t have time to, check on individuals birds – die of thirst or starvation. Unable to avoid more aggressive birds in the crowded sheds, they may also be pecked to death." Photo from COK's ChickenIndustry.com.
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