|imagining that PETA understand the social, economic and ecological problems the collapse of animal husbandry would present and despite their rhetoric are actually calling for a staged withdrawal from the practice, but not having anything to back that up|
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commentsIf you were talking about another animal rights movement I might agree: but I'm pretty sure PETA's a complete clusterfuck.
And in any case: what a company is advocating and what they're advertising/what their followers are picking up doesn't always match up.
Are they the naked paint throwing kind or the firebombing your house with the burning bones of your dead relatives kind?: I'm not sure I can conceive of a middle ground.
Naked paint throwing: and occasionally I guess they like to kill large amounts of shelter animals
PETA sucks they kill their shelter animals: but animal husbandry is pretty bad for the environment, much more plant based food is needed to support livestock than if humans ate it themselves, it leads to deforestation, global warming, etc. It should be phased out in a realistic timeframe.
Up to a point I can agree with that: but livestock are a valuable source of energy converted from human-inedible foodstuffs, and much, much greater care has to be taken to balance a plant-based diet than an omnivorous one.
That's true though most people in today's modern world could at least pull vegetarianism off pretty easily, vegetarians are generally healthier than meat eaters if you look at the statistics: We really should be investing in creating nutritious vegan food and artificial meat and dairy, rendering the whole problem moot. Factory farming realy is horrific for the animals and it's going to be an environmental necessity in the coming decades
I don't know about environmental necessity, and particularly with intensive beef farming there seems to be evidence that it's a major polluter (thereby reducing productivity in the local area), and it's not really a vote winner in rural areas (fewer jobs): I do know I couldn't afford to live as a vegan/vegetarian, and I have relatively modest energy requirements and no medical problems requiring extra dietary care. The food security panic isn't new either, it's around 100 years old.
You probably could afford vegetarianism, there's really nothing you need from meat that you can't get with dairy products: and between a still growing population, running out of freshwater, land degradation, all exacerbated by global warming, the math just doesn't add up and we're going to be in serious trouble if we don't phase out animal husbandry
I agree that animal husbandry is bad for the environment, my point was just that stopping it immediately rather than tapering it off would be pretty catastrophic: either you have a whole bunch of cows to kill and dispose of, or you have a whole bunch of cows to set loose and mess up numerous ecosystems.
And either option doesn't really do much good for the cows: which is the angle a lot of groups like PETA and a lot of vegans are working, and where I have a problem with their ideology.
Anyway, this brought up an interesting though: we've fabricated meat, and I'm all for continuing with that idea, but I wonder what resources and energy needs would be required to fabricate it on a worldwide scale? The energy in those calories has to come from somewhere.
Nobody seriously proposes suddenly letting them loose: Even euthanizing them all would be more ethical than forcing them to live as they are living, the more realistic option would be to simply stop breeding them, in a few years they'll be gone
With fabricated meat: it would ultimately take far less energy than to feed and support an animal for years to get the same amount of meat
You say that, but it's an unsupportable statement because there is no meat fabrication industry but the present energy-intensive one, which is at least capable of partially (or wholly, for some upland herds) capable of gathering its own feed from sources : of energy which are otherwise lost to the human food chain. Factory cattle farming, by comparison, is wasteful and produces lower-quality end products. To go back to the point about dairy farming and vegetarianism, you have the same problems of energy
capture and storage with dairy herds as you have with beef (or lamb or goat or whatever - the larger animals may actually require higher per-head input, but lower per-herd), so everyone switching to vegetarianism isn't necessarily solving or even delaying: the problems. It's still animal husbandry whether you kill the animals for human feed or animal feed at the end of cycle - and with dairy herds, much of the meat with its precious stored energy isn't readily digestible in the way of meat from beef herds.
This is because they are bred for different purposes and to change it would require as much economic upheaval (and animal slaughter) as simply stopping animal husbandry overnight. Those new breeds that are somehow worthwhile beef cattle at the end of a : dairy lifestyle would have to come from somewhere, after all, and they would have to have the same genocide of the current breeds in order to come into production. But even assuming we were able to convince populations to give up meat and/or dairy:
What happens if we are halfway to switching to vegetarianism/veganism, the legal and social sanctions were firmly in place, and the problem of energy efficiency still hadn't gone away? Grazing land isn't the same as arable land - nor is every climate : necessarily suited to growing the crops. Overnight you would lose masses of farmland - and with it the energy capture and storage of the fodder growing on it. Then you face the twin problems of comparatively low-yield crops in heavy rotation
and needing to produce masses of yield-increasing fertilizers. It may - and probably, given our current understanding of crop yields and soil management - would destroy the productivity of what little usable farmland then remained, long term. : It's also obviously just shifting that energy capture/storage problem to another, less fluffy part of industry, and again according to present knowledge likely destroying adjacent wild flora and the fauna that depends on it, as huge monocultures tend to.
Having said that, I do have my qualms about the use of meat and dairy products and I do take the earlier point that omnivorous humans in first world cultures have often faced greater health problems, but I have to take on board that these same cultures : have often faced health problems from diet even in subcultures that could not afford meat in large amounts. It isn't straightforward at all, however you cut it; it is and will likely remain an intransigent conundrum.
I'm sure that you two guys are having fun: but this whole conversation is the definition of tl;dr.
you don't need as much crops when you aren't feeding animals with it too, you would actually need much less arable land just to feed people with, in addition to not needing grazing land for meat animals, which would of course be great for the environment: We will ultimately need to use things like vertical farming and artificial meat, the point is not what would happen if we suddenly stopped meat/dairy production, it's about adapting society to alternatives so we can phase it out as soon as possible
You don't need the same crops, it's true, but you do need to produce more protein crops fit to replace meat in the food chain, and you also have to account for markets and choice and crop failures: I don't know what the answer is. I don't really know that I can conceive of the possibility of their being an answer, only a changed situation that presents its own problems. I do think population will level out globally at under 12 billion humans.
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