Animals lives are in our hands, we have the power and the tools to end their suffering

17 June 2020

By Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale


Globally 72 billion land animals,  50-160 billion farmed fish,  0.7-2.3 trillion wild fish, 43-75 billion farmed crayfish, crabs and lobsters, and 210-350 billion farmed shrimp and prawns are slaughtered each year to provide us with our ever-increasing craving for animal products.

These numbers can be overwhelming and it is difficult to know how we can personally reduce the suffering of so many, yet by reducing our meat and dairy intake or adopting a complete plant-based diet we can do our bit today to end the suffering for at least some of these animals.

With a predicted 73% global increase in meat consumption by 2050 we also need more ‘tools’ in the toolkit to end suffering on such a large scale. Hope is on the horizon with the recent technological development of meat cultivated from animal cells, providing actual animal meat and dairy products without the need to raise, transport, wild catch, or slaughter billions of animals and without the need to shift the global moral position on animal sentience.

Meat requires enormous amounts of energy, land and water to produce, and our desire to eat more and more of it is one of the greatest factors pushing our natural world towards a catastrophic end. A topic that is slowly being recognised by more and more people that are turning to a plant-based diet or choosing to eat less meat, yet per capita consumption continues to increase.

Whilst the impact on the environment is inexcusable, the levels of animal suffering caused through the farming, transporting and slaughter of animals is all too often overlooked as a ‘necessary evil’. Yet this level of suffering is being inflicted upon millions of animals each and every day.

To get an idea of the scale of the suffering to provide food for our table, please click here to see the number and type of animals being slaughtered every single second of every single day and see just how many animals pay the ultimate price for our consummatory satisfaction.

It does not have to continue to be this way, we all individually have the power to stop the suffering that we are responsible for and collectively we could end this all together. Yet to do this requires a will to move away from what society tells us is the ‘norm’. 

From a very young age we are directly and indirectly told that animals are here for our benefit, and although we are increasingly taking more responsibility to discover and subsequently attempt to meet animal’s needs, ultimately the majority within society still believe it is acceptable to use and all too often to abuse animals for our personal consumption.

Animals and especially animals traditionally raised for food fall low down on our personal ‘moral ladders’ and therefore we justify our eating habits based on this moral placement, with animals such as fish, hens, pigs and cows rarely being seen as worthy of our respect.

But times are changing quickly. 

Veganism and plant-based diets are no longer fringe movements, they are the mainstream lifestyle choice practiced by many millions of people every day.

Recent technological developments are also bringing us ever closer to the availability of cultivated meat. This is meat and dairy cultivated from actual animal cells, and so providing consumers with real animal meat and dairy but without the need to shift the global moral position on animal sentience.

To make cultivated meat, producers take stem cells from an animal and grow them in a bioreactor. There, the cells are incubated with heat and oxygen, and fed sugars, salts, and proteins so they can grow. This process essentially tricks the cells into thinking they’re still inside an animal, enticing them to naturally replicate like they would within the body.


In meat-free week it is time for self-reflection as to the part in which we personally play within this annual animal atrocity. Please support the continual growth of the plant-based protein foods industry, and ready ourselves for the arrival of the cultured meat products which no longer require us to breed, raise, transport and slaughter billions of animals each year.

Presenting us with opportunities to continue to meet the growing protein demands of the human population whilst simultaneously reducing our impact on the natural resources and reducing animal suffering on a scale of magnitude that no other alternative other than pure veganism presents.

The answer is in the choices we make each and every day.