In its latest report, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that red meat production in the US during July 2023 was down 2% from July 2022. In that period, a total of 4.129 billion pounds of mammal flesh was produced, which was the result of a 6% drop in production of cows’ flesh to 2.109 billion pounds, cancelled out with a 2% rise in pigs’ flesh at 2.007 billion pounds. In total, 2.6 million cows and bulls were slaughtered so farmers could cut and sell all this flesh, while 9.616 million pigs were slaughtered for the same reason.
That cow’s flesh total included lower than a year ago slaughter of cows, which might be a sign some producers are rebuilding their herds after an extended period of mass killing. The monthly cow slaughter was 504,400 individuals, bringing the 2023 total to date to 3,858,900 individuals. The slaughter of cows bred for dairy was 244,200 individuals, a decrease of 11,500 on the month but an increase of 14,100 on the year, with the year-to-date total at 1,863,100 individuals — all of whom wanted to live and not be killed at a young age.
The USDA says the production of flesh from calves, baby sheeps, and adult sheeps was at record monthly lows. The flesh of dogs and cats was not counted by the USDA as Americans are very selective about which non-human animals they eat, and although these would qualify as “red meat”, meat-eating Americans prefer to eat other animals.
According to the 2022 “State of the Marketplace: Food Service” report compiled by the trade group Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and published in July 2023, 95% of US food service operators offering plant-based foods and beverages anticipated sales to either increase or remain stable in the coming year and four times as many foodservice operators planned to increase plant-based options in 2023 than to remove them. It remains to be seen if this had had any influence on the decline of red meat production.