Alan C. wrote:Please try to answer the question below, and not just change the subject (as others have done)
If you remove all the food animals from the land that can't support crop growing, and you remove all the seafood provided by the seas and oceans that can't provide alternative crops, from the food chain, what are you going to replace it with? What?
It's all very well wishing for a vegetarian world, but in reality, half the population would starve to death.
I know this was directed at Rami, but the comment "as others have done" is hard to ignore, and I'm rolling up my sleeves now. I apologise if I've avoided answering this question before. Perhaps I assumed that, as I'm not advocating global veganism or vegetarianism, I didn't have to. If I ever "wish for" a vegan world, it's a world so far into the future that it's impossible to predict what the circumstances will be, what the population will be, what the climate will be, what habitats and ecosystems will still exist. I also didn't understand what you meant by "remove from the food chain". I still don't, really. Vegetarians are never going to be responsible for removing all the fish and shellfish from the oceans. They'd still be there, as part of the food chain [---][/---] as I understand the term. They wouldn't need to be replaced. The global fishing industry, on the other hand, may very well, if it's not careful, end up removing a number of entire species of fish and shellfish from the oceans, and then there really would
be a gap in the food chain, with who knows what consequences. So if you're asking what humans would replace fish with in their diet, I think that's a much broader question, and should not just be directed at vegetarians and vegans. In any case, fish counts for just 16% of the animal protein in the diets of human beings worldwide, and only 10% in Western Europe and 7% in North America. (In Africa and Asia, of course, there is currently a much greater dependence on fish. And there are also serious problems of overfishing. See, for example, "West Africa: Overfishing Linked to Food Crisis, Migration"
If humans (gradually) stopped breeding livestock for food, and therefore (gradually) stopped growing feed for livestock, that would free up a lot of land that can
be used for growing crops for direct human consumption. This is not "changing the subject"; it's relevant. In large countries like Brazil, China, Russia, Mexico and the US, in particular, vast areas of land are used for growing soya, maize, cottonseed, sorghum, alfalfa, etc. that are fed to cattle and other livestock. And since those animals are inefficient food converters (in the US, the feed-to-meat ratio for farm animals as a whole has been estimated at 6.2 to 1), the land freed up will produce much more
food for humans than it currently does. (Food that's deemed not fit for human consumption that is currently fed to animals could be used for other useful purposes, such as biofuels.) According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, grazing occupies 26 per cent of the Earth's terrestrial surface, and feed-crop production requires about a third of all arable land (Science Daily
). Livestock rearing has led to widespread soil erosion, desertification and deforestation in many parts of the world. So the proportion of land suitable for growing crops (including trees) is declining
because of livestock production. And the problem is growing. As the demand for meat increases, in countries like China and India, the more land will be used to produce it. If we reverse that demand, if we stop rearing livestock on the huge scale that we currently do, we'll have more
food for human beings, not less
, as well as more habitats for wild animals, more biodiversity. Yes, it is true that we would have even more food if we continued to graze animals on land that's not suitable for crops. But if we've changed land use elsewhere as a consequence of widespread vegetarianism, we won't need that extra food. There's no reason to assume that anyone
will starve [---][/---] let alone half the population [---][/---] simply because we've stopped grazing animals and allow land that's unsuitable for crops to recover slowly, and perhaps eventually revert to forest (which is itself a valuable economic, social and environmental resource for people and other animals in many parts of the world). In fact, it strikes me that an increased demand for meat in the growing economies, and therefore for grazing land and land for growing fodder crops, is far more likely to lead to the increased displacement and impoverishment and starvation of people in many parts of the world.
So tell me, Alan. Why do you think that "wishing for" a vegetarian or vegan world is more irresponsible than "wishing for" a world where meat is consumed [---][/---] on the scale it is today in Scotland, say, but extrapolated to the whole world? Because that's where we seem to be heading, and it's going to need some pretty clever wizardry to solve that one. And I haven't even mentioned
climate change ... (Where's a "flounce" smiley when you need one!)