Age of animals slaughtered

Last updated 21 December 2020

Most animals are slaughtered as babies, at a very small portion of their natural life span, regardless of whether they are raised conventionally or in operations that are labelled “humane”, “sustainable”, “natural”, “free range”, “cage free”, “heritage bred”, “grass fed”, “local” or “organic”.

  Typical Slaughter Age Natural Life Span
Chickens (male in egg industry) 1 day Up to 8 years
“Veal” calves 1-24 weeks 15-20 years
Chickens (broilers / meat breeds) 5-7 weeks Up to 8 years*
Ducks 7-8 weeks 6-8 years
Rabbits 10-12 weeks 8-12 years
Goats 12-20 weeks 12-14 years
Geese 15-20 weeks 8-15 years
Turkeys 10-17 weeks Up to 15 years*
Pigs 5-6 months 10-12 years
Lambs 4-12 months 12-14 years
“Beef” cattle 18 months 15-20 years
Chickens (egg laying hens) 18 months Up to 8 years
Pigs (breeding sows) 3-5 years 10-12 years
Dairy cows 4 years 15-20 years

 * Most chickens and turkeys are bred to grow so fast that their bodies cannot endure very long. When not bred for consumption, chickens and turkeys can grow at a rate their bodies can sustain for many years.