Below is an awful list to help people work slowly towards veganism. This list is all about who (probably) suffers the most. Whoever suffers the most should be the first animal/by-product that you give up eating first. 

Just to be super transparent, I got it completely wrong when I stopped eating animals. First I gave up animals that are farmed on land (chickens, cows, pigs) and then I gave up fish. Then I gave up eggs and not long after I gave up dairy. If I really cared about suffering then there would have been a totally different order to my madness. 

I have not included crustaceans and honey in this list as I’m not sure where they would fit in terms of suffering. 

FYI, I hated writing this list. The idea of listing one animal’s suffering worse than another is tough.

1. Fish

Fish are undoubtedly the farmed animals that experience the most suffering of all, simply because of the sheer number of fish that suffer and die for our food. Also the conditions are horrendous in fish farms. Fish are packed together and their movements are restricted. Their whole life is living in these horrible farms until they are killed for food.

Human beings eat fish, but we also use lots and lots of smaller fish to feed bigger farmed fish and chickens.

Not only that, but people that stop eating red meat tend to replace that protein with chickens or fish. As these animals are considerably smaller than a cow, for example, this means that the demand for fish increases. This is called the small animal replacement problem. So when people become pescatarians (as I did) they tend to cause more suffering than when they were eating farmed land animals. 

Do you question whether fish suffer? If you do, then here is one of my previous blog posts. If you want to get super scientific then check out Fish Welfare Initiative.

You’ll change your mind. 

It is estimated that there are roughly one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) fish being farmed right now. That’s a lot of suffering. So if you’re going to give up eating anything, give up fish first. 

2. Chickens

Chickens farmed for their flesh have incredibly short life spans. These chickens are chosen because they grow the fastest. First they are mutilated, then they are plumped up to “market weight” in only 42 days so in effect they are still babies when they are killed for food. They gain weight too quick for their legs to support them and often end up not being able to walk. 

Talking of death, chickens are normally killed by being hung upside down, dragged through electrified water and then their throat is slit. The last two stages are not always effective and many chickens die slow and painful deaths. This isn’t counting the fear they must feel leading up to being slaughtered or the abuse they are sometimes subject to by slaughter house workers. 

As mentioned above, chickens feature in the small animal replacement problem. When people give up eating cows, pigs, lambs they tend to replace that protein with chicken, a smaller animal, meaning more death and suffering is required. 

Also noted above, sometimes chickens are fed with very small farmed fish. This means when you’re eating a chicken you’re not only paying for a chicken to suffer, you’re also paying for lots of smaller fish to suffer too. One meal is not worth all of this suffering. 

It is estimated that we eat 19 billion chickens per year. Quit eating fish and then chicken. 

3. Eggs

Next on our list of things to give up because they cause a lot of suffering is surprisingly not an animal, but an animal by-product.

Chickens that are farmed for their eggs are typically kept in horrible conditions and trapped their entire life. Once they stop producing eggs at an acceptable rate the chickens are killed for pet food. 

Not only this but male chicks are considered worthless by the egg industry and killed a day after hatching. Lots and lots and lots of death for a so-called harmless egg.

For more information on eggs you can read one of my previous blog posts here

4. Pigs

Piglets are mutilated soon after birth. Their tails are cut off, their teeth are sometimes clipped, and the males’ testicles are ripped off, all without painkillers.

Imagine someone taking a one day old human baby and chopping off their little finger. If you compare that to what they do to piglets, the one day old human baby has it easy. 

On top of this pigs are super smart animals and considered to be even smarter than dogs. So if you think a dog would suffer in a pig farm because he’s so intelligent and he’d understand what is going on, the same should be said for a pig. 

As pigs are bigger than chickens, we need to murder less of them to feed people that need bacon in their lives. 

Nonsense.  

5. Cows

I feel disgusting writing this. 

If I had a gun to my head and I had to answer which of all the farmed animals will suffer the least on a whole, it would be cows. This is simply because they are so big and there would be a lot less death for the same amount of flesh compared to chickens.

Just to be clear, I am in no way advocating for people to eat cows. No animal deserves to suffer, especially not for your taste pleasure. 

6. Milk

Even though it’s towards the end of my shitty list, milk is still awful. Cows are forcibly impregnated until they can no longer produce milk, then they are killed. 

If the cow gives birth to a boy, then that calf will probably be killed for veal. If the cow gives birth to a girl, then that heifer will be raped as soon as she is old enough to get pregnant. 

The dairy industry sucks and is going bankrupt. Better switch over to plant milk whilst you still can 😉 

7. Cheese

Last is cheese because it is a product made by milk so it’s unlikely that it would cause more suffering than milk. However, it still causes a demand for milk and consequently the raping of cows. 

Cheese is also super bad for your health.

Just saying. 

So if you’re going to eat animals and their by-products as though their lives don’t matter, then at least start from the bottom of this list. If you want to make a change in your diet, then start from the top and work your way down. 

I hope to never write such a depressing article again 💚