One of the ways in which advocates try to reduce the suffering of farmed animals is by encouraging people to eat less meat, or become vegetarian or vegan. There are a number of factors that go into the success of such interventions, including the specific animal products that are eaten or avoided, how long dietary changes last (recidivism), and how the media can influence demand for animal products. These factors are discussed in detail at the links below.
We review how many animals are affected by a typical American’s diet, and how many could be spared by different choices. This includes an estimate of how many animals are directly affected by the average American’s diet and an overview of how elasticity considerations reduce the impacts of dietary change.
Many interventions on behalf of farmed animals seek to convince individuals to change their diet so that they affect fewer farmed animals. Assuming these interventions work, how long those changes last significantly affects their impact.
We estimate the total number of fish that are killed, on average, on a per-capita level, to meet the demand within the U.S. This includes both the fish and shellfish that are killed and consumed directly and the fish that are reduced to fishmeal and fed to farmed fish in aquaculture.
Animal advocates often seek to reduce demand for animal products through influencing the public dialogue, but outcomes of these campaigns are hard to measure directly. We discuss two economics studies which model the influence of media coverage on demand for animal products. After summarizing the findings of each study, we discuss the study’s implications for animal advocates.