1. News & Issues

How Many Animals are Killed Each Year?


How many animals are killed for human use every year in the United States? The numbers are in the billions, and these are just the ones we know about. Let's break it down.

How Many Animals are Killed for Food?

The Historic Wholesale Market Of Smithfield
Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

According to Farm Animal Rights Movement, approximately 10 billion land animals are killed every year for food in the United States, and 58 billion are killed worldwide. According to Noam Mohr of animaldeathcount.blogspot.com:

In 2009, about 20 billion sea animals were killed (by the US) for human consumption . . . Note that both the land and sea animal numbers are those killed by the US, not killed for US consumption (since we import and export much of the slaughter). Animals killed worldwide for Americans' food in 2009 amount to 8.3 billion land animals and 51 billion sea animals. (So, a total of about 59 billion animals.) You can see that those imports and exports make a huge difference.

Does not include: Wild animals killed by hunters, wildlife displaced by animal agriculture, wildlife directly killed by farmers with pesticides, traps or other methods.

For more info:

(Continued below)

How Many Animals are Killed for Vivisection (Experiments)?

Lab Rat
China Photos / Getty Images

Estimates range from 17 million to 70 million to 100 million. The numbers are difficult to estimate because the majority of animals used in research - rats and mice - are unreported because they are not covered by the Animal Welfare Act.

Unreported: rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.

For More Info:

How Many Animals are Killed for Fur?

Fox on a Russian fur farm.
Oleg Nikishin / Newsmakers

Every year, over 40 million animals are killed for fur worldwide. Approximately 30 million animals are raised on fur farms and killed, about 10 million wild animals are trapped and killed for fur, and hundreds of thousands of seals are killed for fur.

In 2010, the quota for the Canadian seal hunt was 388,200, but the new European Union ban on seal products caused many sealers to stay home, and about 67,000 seals were killed. The ban is now the subject of a lawsuit before the European General Court and is temporarily suspended.

Does not include: Unwanted "trash" animals killed by traps; Seals who are injured, escape and die later.

For more info:

How Many Animals are Killed by Hunters?

Deer fawns
Tim Boyle / Getty Images

According to In Defense of Animals, over 200 million animals are reported killed by hunters in the United States every year.

Does not include: Animals killed illegally by poachers; animals who are injured, escape and die later; orphaned animals who die after their mothers are killed.

For more info:

How Many Animals are Killed in Shelters?

Dogs in a shelter
Mario Tama / Getty Images

According to The Humane Society of the US, 3-4 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters in the United States every year.

Does not include: cats and dogs killed in animal cruelty cases, abandoned animals who die later

For more info:


Doris Lin, Esq. is an animal rights attorney and Director of Legal Affairs for the Animal Protection League of NJ.

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Animal Rights
  4. Animal Rights 101
  5. How Many Animals Are Killed Each Year?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.