Metsfanmax wrote:PLAYER57832 wrote:Metsfanmax wrote:PLAYER57832 wrote:Then you have the food argument itself---Cows eat grass, the "chaff" or parts that are inedible to human beings, like goats and sheep (but pigs, to contrast eat "human-viable" food).
In short, many of the most classic arguments about why folks should be vegetarien are actually wrong when it comes to ruminents
Many cows are fed grains and other things that humans could eat, at 10% efficiency in conversion.
This is true, but it is not necessary, is not why we have come to depend so heavily upon ruminents.
It is very clearly not necessary, but it is necessary if Americans insist on making animal flesh a regular part of their diet instead of a special occasion food. If we stopped factory farming, meat would get a lot more expensive and the supply would drop drastically. Since most people seem to consider meat a required part of a balanced diet, you cannot avoid the fact that the capitalist system will respond by producing meat in the cheapest and largest-scale way possible.
You are attacking 3 different concepts in a way that avoids the real answers.
The unsustainability/market argument applies to crops just as much as to factory livestock
farms. The problem is that the so-called "free market" is not really so free when it comes to long term impacts, but there is no inbuilt mechanism to get people to recognize that fact. Instead, we have a mishmash of regulations and subsidides faught for by various interest groups. In some cases, the rules and fights made a lot of sense, but too often, people fight for what THEY want and then justify what they want with all kinds of "sensible arguments."
Traditional agricultural systems of all types went through a very different process of design. People did what worked, what kept them alive and kept their society going. Unlike factory farms, a herdsman or land-farmer each had great stock in passing things on to the next generation. The most henious act a conquerer could do, even beyond slaughtering children and women, was to destroy the land itself. "salting the earth" and so forth. Today, farming in most arid regions is doing exactly that. Maybe increasing alkalinity instead of salt, but the same effect. They are, perhaps not happy, but willing to destroy their land to make a profit. This is even more true when the land is owned by a corporation run by people who may live far away or know little of agriculture other than what they see in their accounting books.
In many arid areas, growing crops sufficient to support humanity is not possible. That is the flat truth. We have altered this somewhat by irrigating and fertilizing, but they each have problems. Is it really and truly better to turn desert into fields of grain or to let some cattle, sheep or goats graze in a sustainable manner? I would absolutely argue that the sustainable range life is far better all around, for the animals, for the people, etc. Simply eating vegetable matter does not ensure that it is raised properly or sustainably. Rice and cotton in CA, for example are anything but sustainable!
Furthermore, growing crops, sustainably, for the long term requires some kind of fertilizer. Compost works to a point, particularly on smaller scale. However, constantly putting what amounts to the dead waste of vegetable matter over a very long term can cause its own problems. Certain nutrients get removed by the vegetables and grain we need for our bodies. They may not be removed completely, but they are removed. Worse, the chance of developing a pathogen that will persist is far greater than if the waste passes through an animal. If the animal waste is, in turn properly composted ("cooked" or dried), then you have a pretty good system.
Saying "lets eat vegetables" is a quick and simplistic answer. In many areas that would mean importing even more food than they now do. Even in places that can grow good and varied crops, when meat and dairy don't make up large a large quantity of the diet, it provides an important asset.