(more graph goodness in the article)
The result is that each plant has to get rid of thousands of “spent” hens every year. What happens to those hens? In most cases, they don’t end up in your chicken soup broth, or even in your cat or dog’s food. That’s because most slaughterhouses don’t accept them — they have too little meat on their bones to turn a profit.
Has the world reached peak chicken? Considering the fact that Americans eat 79 billion eggs a year, that’s an awful lot of laying hens. And that’s to say nothing of the so-called broiler operations that make chickens for supermarket shelves and fast-food sandwiches and nuggets.
As with all other phenomena that grow exponentially – doubling in a fixed period of time (such as 20 years [3.5% per annum] in this instance) – we cannot continue to perpetually farm and eat more chickens than have ever been farmed and eaten before. Sadly, though, the same logic applies to vegetables. Therefore, the solution is not vegetarianism; the solution is less people. 7 billion humans has only been possible because modern agriculture is an industry that converts fossil fuels into food. Without fossil fuels, the Earth will only be able to support a pre-Industrial population (of about 1 billion).