Whether you observe the occasional Meatless Monday or haven’t let flesh pass your lips for decades, it’s hard not to wonder exactly how many lives you’ve spared by opting for plant-based meals. And now, thanks to the Vegetarian Calculator, you can get an answer.
Yes, it’s a rough estimate (it takes a lot of chickens to reach the caloric equivalent of a cow, after all, and not everyone eats the same portion sizes), but the system seems reasonably sound. The data comes from USDA statistics, and represents an average more than a customized calculation.
I hung up my steak knife 22 years ago, and according to the calculator I’ve saved 4,444 animals, representing 4,290 pounds of animal carcass. I must admit that makes me smile.
The tool also calculates the pounds of CO2 not released into the atmosphere because you shunned meat. So even if you don’t care about animal lives or factory farm brutality, you can still see how much of an impact going meatless has on slowing climate change.
The calculator website also has animal photos so you can get your “cute” fix, and videos so you can learn things like how to cook vegetarian chili or how we can sustainably feed the world.
Don’t expect atomic-clock-like accuracy, but do expect a relevant exploration of the good you can do when you skip the hamburger. It’s worth a look, and it’s at vegetariancalculator.com.