The hypothesis that the incidence of calcium stone disease is related to the consumption of animal protein has been examined. Within the male population, recurrent idiopathic stone formers consumed more animal protein than did normal subjects. Single stone formers had animal protein intakes intermediate between those of normal men and those of recurrent stone formers. A high animal protein intake caused a significant increase in the urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate and uric acid, 3 of the 6 main urinary risk factors for calcium stone formation. The overall relative probability of forming stones, calculated from the combination of the 6 main urinary risk factors, was markedly increased by a high animal protein diet. Conversely, a low animal protein intake, such as taken by vegetarians, was associated with a low excretion of calcium, oxalate and uric acid and a low relative probability of forming stones.