The United States Department of Agriculture released its annual summary of livestock slaughter this morning, reporting that 2.914 million head of dairy cows were slaughtered through Federally inspected plants in 2011.
That number is 107,000 head higher than in 2010, a 3.8% increase. USDA also reported that total beef slaughter was down slightly in 2011, with veal slaughter down 4%.
Dairy cows represent just under 9% of the total beef slaughter. So even though their numbers were up last year, they weren’t enough to offset declining beef cattle numbers.