If you are trying to cut back on eating animal products to help the billions of animals who suffer on factory farms around the United States, this post will help you figure out which foods to stop eating first.

The Reduction Journey

I stopped eating meat at age four, after reading The Story of Doctor Dolittle and hearing the main character refer to animals as his friends. “Animals are my friends, too,” I recall telling my bewildered mother, “And I don’t want to eat my friends.” Later, I became a vegan after learning about the animal welfare harms caused by eating dairy and eggs.

Like me, many vegetarians and vegans can recall a single “aha!” moment that convinced them to go meatless, while others make the switch more gradually. No matter where you are in your reduction journey, the most important thing is that you’re ready to remove animal products from your diet.

Here’s the catch: If this is your first time thinking about a plant-based diet, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed about where to start. Research by Faunalytics found that 84% of people who try a vegetarian or vegan diet eventually abandon it. Depending on your motivation and experience, it usually takes a lot of planning, preparation, and practice to successfully stop eating animal products.

Where can you go from here?

Luckily, the Faunalytics team has some data to help you. As an animal advocacy research organization, we recently sought to answer an important question: If someone is trying to reduce animal products from their diet, which product(s) should they stop eating first to make the biggest impact on farmed animals?

In terms of their effect on farmed animals, some food items cause more harm than others. As such, we looked at 98 categories of products, revealing which ones cause the most animal suffering to feed the U.S. population per day. We then ranked these products in a handy set of tools called our Animal Product Impact Scales. As you continue your reduction journey, consider removing our top-ranked foods from your diet as you try to be as helpful as possible for animals.

Top 10 Animal Products To Stop Eating Now

Without further ado, here are the top 10 products that cause the most farmed animal suffering to feed the U.S. population every single day:

This scale lists the top 10 products that cause the most days of animal suffering to feed the U.S. population every day. They include scrambled eggs & omelets (201 million days of suffering per day of consumption), chicken shreds & ground (171 million days of suffering), unbreaded chicken breasts/filets (164 million days of suffering), unbattered fish filets (149 million days of suffering), chicken strips & nuggets (122 million days of suffering), fried eggs (99 million days of suffering), unbreaded chicken parts (96 million days of suffering), fish shreds & ground (59 million days of suffering), breaded chicken breasts/filets (56 million days of suffering), and battered fish filets (52 million days of suffering).
The top 10 products that cause the most farmed animal suffering to feed the U.S. population per day.

As you can see, scrambled eggs and omelets top the list. Every day these items are eaten in the United States, it causes 201 million days of animal suffering! Think about that the next time you’re deciding between eggs or a delicious tofu scramble at the grocery store. And while eggs are often praised as a good source of protein, research shows plant-based proteins offer similar health benefits (minus animal suffering).

Toward a More Compassionate Future

I won’t pretend these numbers aren’t distressing. To think that the U.S. population causes over one billion days of suffering by eating just ten products each day is tough to cope with (and if you want to learn how we got these numbers, read this blog). But there’s good news: You can make a difference, and our scales will help you as you do your part to make the world a better place for animals.

Once you’ve switched to a fully plant-based diet, these scales can still be a helpful resource for you as you talk to your friends and family about their meat intake. Remember to be patient with your loved ones, as no two vegan journeys are the same. Together we can achieve a future free of animal exploitation, but we can only get there with compassion and understanding — for both animals and one another.

To learn more about Faunalytics’ Animal Product Impact Scales and how we came up with our numbers, click here. You can also read more about Faunalytics research in Top Animal Products that Cause the Most Suffering and Top 10 Foods that Cause Most Animal Deaths.

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
  • Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
  • Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!