Sentience Institute Global Farmed & Factory Farmed Animals Estimates
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ABCDE
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201220142017 EstimatedRounded 2017
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Farmed land vertebrates28,129,846,86429,168,241,54130,953,571,26931,000,000,000
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"Factory farmed" land vertebrates* assuming 80% of livestock growth by head 2014-2017 was in factory farms
19,854,507,62622,113,487,15022,100,000,000
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"Factory farmed" land vertebrates* assuming constant proportion of animals are factory farmed, which is unlikely
19,854,507,62621,920,980,72721,900,000,000
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Percent farmed land animals factory farmed70.58%71.44%71%
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Farmed fish lower**55,500,000,00072,193,157,60272,200,000,000
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Farmed fish median**137,375,000,000178,694,324,784178,700,000,000
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Farmed fish upper**240,000,000,000312,186,627,467312,200,000,000
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Total farmed animals with lower fish estimate83,629,846,864103,146,728,871103,100,000,000
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Total farmed animals with median fish estimate165,504,846,864209,647,896,054209,600,000,000
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Total farmed animals with upper fish estimate268,129,846,864343,140,198,736343,100,000,000
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Total factory farmed animals with lower fish estimate75,354,507,62694,306,644,75294,300,000,000
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Total factory farmed animals with median fish estimate157,229,507,626200,807,811,934200,800,000,000
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Total factory farmed animals with upper fish estimate259,854,507,626334,300,114,617334,300,000,000
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Percent all farmed animals factory farmed with lower fish estimate
90.10%91.43%91%
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Percent all farmed animals factory farmed with median fish estimate
95.00%95.78%96%
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Percent all farmed animals factory farmed with upper fish estimate
96.91%97.42%97%
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*A Worldwatch article posted on March 23 2012 states that concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) "now account for 72 percent of poultry production, 43 percent of egg production, and 55 percent of pork production worldwide." It is not stated whether those figures include e.g. all cage-free egg farms, outdoor feedlots, or crowded but sufficiently small farms, so these estimates may be low. The egg figure may also be a typo as in 2004 Worldwatch had reported that the figure for beef was 43 percent, while eggs were 68 percent, and egg production only increased in the interim. Compassion in World Farming also estimates that 60% of eggs globally are produced in "industrial systems", and their estimates for other products are similar to those made by Worldwatch. These estimates are presumably made by weight of the products (or count for eggs) rather than head of the producing animals and factory farmed animals produce more per head -- for instance leghorns, the most common breed of hen used to make eggs in factory farms, lay around 300 eggs in their peak year, while Rhode Island Reds and other breeds more typical of pasture farms lay around 250.
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*Note though that the weighted average of 25 countries which account for 79% of global egg production and for which estimates were found by Open Philanthropy Project for the percentage of egg laying hens who were merely caged around 2012 is 88% (83% unweighted, see "Open Philanthropy Hen Estimates" sheet). This suggests that globally a minimum of around 70% of hens are caged (and that's if all the remaining 21% or so are not, which is not the case), with 83-88% more likely, if not higher given increasing industrialization in the five or so years since these numbers were taken. Given all of this, and that "factory" systems are not restricted to cages, we will use 88% as our global figure for factory farmed hens, understanding that this is probably conservative. All other animals (namely ruminants and rodents) are estimated at the 2004 43% figure for beef, though by 2012 that proportion likely grew.
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*The International Egg Commission estimated the global egg-laying hen count in 2013 to be 7.0 billion. This is slightly higher than Compassion in World Farming's contemporary estimate of 6.6 billion. It is also higher than the 6.0 billion estimate made by Open Philanthropy Project accounting for 15% of eggs being broiler hatching eggs (see "Open Philanthropy Hen Estimates" sheet). Based on an international average egg-laying rate of 185/year, this is also slightly higher than the number of in-shell eggs laid by hens as reported by the FAO for 2012, but it is slightly lower than the number of in-shell eggs laid by all birds as reported by the FAO for 2012. Note that ducks and quail have similar productivity to the international average for chickens. We will therefore take 7.0 billion as an estimate of the total number of birds used for "egg production," and assume that factory farming rates are comparable for all species.
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*Worldwatch also reports that the FAO estimated 80% of growth in the livestock sector was in CAFOs.
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**fishcount.org.uk estimated in 2012 that 37 to 120 billion farmed fish are slaughtered annually. Catfish and salmon are common farmed fish species, and are probably typically farmed for approximately a year and a half to two years. Lower estimate takes lower number killed and shorter lifespan, upper estimate takes higher number killed and longer lifespan, median takes median of both. We suspect virtually all farmed fish are in “factory” conditions.
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**The FAO estimated that 66.6 million tonnes of fish were produced on farms in 2012 and 73.8 million in 2014, which gives us an annual growth estimate of 1.054% assuming species and lifespans stay constant.
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FAO data retrieved through a custom search of the FAOSTAT database
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Worldwatch 2012 estimates
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Worldwatch 2004 report
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Compassion in World Farming stats
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Compassion in World Farming egg-laying hen estimates
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FAO's Livestock's Long Shadow report
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International Egg Commision review
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Hen laying rates
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fishcoung.org.uk farmed fish estimate
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Catfish lifespan
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Salmon lifespan
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See FAO "The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture" 2014 and 2016 for 2012 and 2014 farmed fish weight estimates
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Estimates
FAO World Land Animals Estimates 2000-2014
Open Philanthropy Hen Estimates