You probably weren’t too concerned with numbers the last time you ate a hamburger—unless you checked your bank account to decide whether or not the $1.49 surcharge for avocado was justifiable. But you likely didn’t whip out a calculator to see what percentage of a cow that six-ounce beef patty accounted for.
The Vegetarian Calculator—a website that extols the environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet—thinks that if you did, you might just reconsider your dietary habits.
As the American diet has gradually replaced whole-animal, off-the-bone offerings with processed patties and nuggets, it has become easier to be desensitized to the reality that people are eating living, breathing creatures. Last year, 49 percent of all broiler chickens went into further processing, compared with 2 percent in 1962. It’s hard to picture a chicken running around on a farm when it’s been ground up, mixed with fillers, coated in bread crumbs, and dunked in hot oil.
To reconnect the nugget to the bird, the Vegetarian Calculator used U.S. Department of Agriculture data to find that the average American consumer will eat more than 7,000 animals in a lifetime.