What Kills More Animals, Vegans Or Meat Eaters?

An evergreen vegan myth seems to have embedded itself in modern discourse. So let’s take a proper look at the question: What kills more animals, vegans or meat eaters? You will find many anti-vegans unthinkingly regurgitating the claim that vegans kill more animals through crop deaths of field mice and the like. Well, it’s really easy to disprove this claim …


What Kills More Animals, Vegans Or Meat Eaters?

 Meat eaters kill more animals than vegans because the majority of farmland in the world is given over to animal agriculture. Either raising them or feeding them. Producing meat is a very inefficient nutrient conversion process and as such, way more land is needed to give us the same level nutrition from meat as it does from plants. It’s just arithmetic … 


Watch: Plant Based Logic comprehensively debunks the ‘vegans kill more’ claim:

( a rational and logical look at this badly flawed argument )


You may also like: Why Veganism Is Bad For Animals


Crop Deaths Are Driven By Meat & Dairy

We could initially dive into the numbers of animals killed to service the diet of a vegan vs that of a meat eater …

But let’s look at the most obvious debunk first of all.

Meat and dairy production account for the vast majority of agricultural land use and so it follows that crop deaths of field animals are driven mostly by the demands of meat eaters.

Statista and Our World In Data are two highly trusted statistical websites whose sole purpose is to collate accurate global data. They both come to very similar conclusions on this.

Statista is a very well funded multi award-winning organisation listed by Library Journal as a ‘must have’ database for academic and public libraries. If you’re looking for well researched data, Statista is second to none.

Below is their chart on agricultural land use … you can click the image for the data but check out the agricultural land stats, in the middle. It speaks for itself:


Statistic: Distribution of land use for food production worldwide as of 2019 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista


Our World In Data is a website published by the Global Change Data Lab and its researchers are based at the University of Oxford in the UK. Again, a highly respected and valid source of accurate global data.

Compare their chart to the Statista one and you’ll see very similar numbers:

Our World In Data - land used for food production, infographic showing 77% of all agricultural land used to feed or raise animals.
Licenced under CC-BY by the authors Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser. Nov 2019.


All of this proves conclusively that meat eaters demand close to 80% of all available agricultural land on the planet.

So now ask yourself the question … What kills more animals, vegans or meat eaters?

The answer is obvious.

So why does this common myth still have so many people convinced that vegans are the real enemy here? Well … it’s something to do with the gutter press.


Anti-Vegan Stories Sell Newspapers

Negative stories about vegans are nothing new and anti-vegan sentiment is now something embedded deep in the psyche of our modern, media consuming public.

A photo taken over the shoulder of a woman reading the New York Times. For whatever reason, many people love to hate on vegans.

… and they start salivating with a kind of primal glee when a vegan influencer allegedly dies of malnutrition, for example … an unverified claim, by the way.

In reality it seems Zhanna D’art had “pre-existing health problems” and her death has been officially classified as “sudden death” possibly due to an infection she picked up while in Malaysia.

But the gutter press loves to lead with the fact that she was a raw food vegan influencer. It taps into that rich seam of vegan hate and it sells papers … garners clicks and shares.

It’s exactly the same with the crop deaths misinformation which has spread so widely.

From a profoundly flawed study from Mike Archer, of the University of New South Wales, endless articles and social media posts have spawned.

The common theme? Anti-vegan sentiment.

What is it about vegans which so upsets some meat eaters? I can understand a few of the more vocal vegans getting under the skin of these meatflakes but the vast majority of vegans just want to go about their daily lives, doing the least amount of harm to animals as possible.

Grrrr … yeah that makes the blood boil doesn’t it, Mr Piers Morgan?


Veganism Is Never 100% Free Of Harm

Everything we do as humans has a reaction on the world we live in.

As a species, we’ve risen to the top of the evolutionary ladder. We can outsmart our natural predators and live largely detached from the natural ecosystems which spawned intelligent life.

Our egos are massaged by this dominance and we think it’s ok to lord it over other species. Exploiting other highly sentient beings for our own culinary gratification and twisted entertainment.

Veganism rejects this speciesist mindset.

Vegans want to minimise the harm done to the other animals we share this beautiful blue orb with. But whether vegan or not, as soon as you walk out of your front door in the morning, you will be responsible for the death of an animal.

The ant you tread on. The insect that flies in your eye and ends up a squashed mess on your finger. You may even hit a fox on your way to work in the car, in the morning rush.

These things are unavoidable.

Vegans know that some level of death and suffering is always going to be the result of simply living our lives. We have to accept that.

What we don’t accept is that vegans have more ‘blood on their hands’ than meat eaters. Because, as we proved above, it’s simply not true.

The ‘crop deaths’ argument carries precisely zero weight in a logical world.


Most Meat Eaters Also Eat Plants

Apart from this somewhat odd breed of human ‘carnivore’ who seem to be getting weirder by the day, most people eat plants as well as meat.

Two women sitting around the garden table tucking into delicious looking food. So when we consider the crop deaths caused by that plate of food on your dinner table, you’ll find there’s not much difference between a vegan’s plate and an omnivore’s.

Add in the untold suffering, abuse and violent death associated with the meat on your plate and it’s clear to see, a meat eater will always ‘kill more animals’ than a vegan.

It’s not an opinion … it’s just mathematics.

Grass fed beef may be slightly less problematic for the field mice but even those cows can be fed grain for a good portion of the year and still be classed as grass-fed.

Plus they’re almost certainly fed hay or silage in the winter months and guess what? There’s crop deaths associated with that too.

Plus plus … there’s a strong argument that pasture grazing keeps the cover low which means field animals are more open to predation. These nuances are conveniently overlooked in most of the debates you’ll find online.

The simple truth is this whole argument is a big ole red herring.


Newsflash: Field Mice Avoid The Combine Harvester

Proponents of this odd crop death theory seem to think the wild animals in the farmer’s field just sit there and await their fate as the combine thunders ever closer.

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In an English study [1] of field mice and grain harvesting the authors conclusively show that 97% of the mice they tagged soon got well out of the way a long time before the combine ever got near to them.

They have exceptional hearing and they know when it’s time to quickly scarper. They certainly didn’t hang around and succumb to their ‘fate’.

In fact, in Mike Archer’s dubious article he has an image of a cute little mouse sitting on a plum. In the caption he even uses the words ‘awaits its fate’ … does he really think they’re that stupid?

I think not.

More likely is Archer has constructed this article in a clickbait type fashion and tapped into a deep rooted hatred of vegans. He knew this would be fodder for the anti-vegan brigade.

… he was right. Now this lie has been around the world many thousands of times and with every revolution it snares more of the gullible.


Conclusion – Vegans Don’t Kill More Animals

So, to summarise, the three big reasons meat eaters kill more animals than vegans are:

  1. Most agricultural land is used to feed animals.
  2. Most meat eaters also eat plants.
  3. Field animals take evasive action at harvest.

Brown mouse sitting on a twig with the field blurred in the background. It’s really not a difficult one to understand. If you consume the flesh of another animal you are driving the demand which sees 80 billion land animals violently slaughtered every single year.


Just stop for a second and attempt to visualise that number. I find it very difficult to get my head around such a vast figure. It’s close to 120 million innocent souls every single day.

That’s some serious karma right there.

The majority of the animals we eat are raised on CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) … those vast feedlots which not only pollute our environment but also infect nearby vegetable fields with things like e-coli.

77% of arable land is used to feed those animals.

So it doesn’t take a maths whizz to work out that 77% of crop deaths are due to the consumption of meat and dairy.

Whichever way you cut this, vegans come out on top. The obvious truth to anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex is that meat eaters kill more animals than vegans … shock, horror.

Please feel free to disagree in the comments below …


I hope my ramblings have helped to answer your question today and as always, I’d like to know what you think so please post your comments below – I may not respond immediately but I always do.

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Thanks so much for reading and have a peaceful day.


[1] – T.E. Tew, D.W. Macdonald, The effects of harvest on arable wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus, Biological Conservation, Volume 65, Issue 3, 1993, Pages 279-283, ISSN 0006-3207, https://doi.org

Newspaper Photo by Lina Kivaka

Lunch Photo by Gary Barnes

Mouse Photo by Rahel R



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