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Being a vegan myself, although more because I find animal products somewhat disgusting rather than because of any moral reasons, I agree that vegans who try to force their views upon others do not really help anyone all that much.

 

I can see what you mean about domestic animals though, as some animals now depend on humans for a lot of things so humans' relationships with some animals are not always as black and white as some try to make it out to be, at least as long as the animals in question are fairly treated. Sometimes animals even live better in captivity than in the wild as is the case in many pets.

 

The thing that many vegans are more against is the farms where cows and other animals are continually being exploited for their milk, eggs, and other products before eventually being killed when they stop producing them. Another obvious problem is that in order to produce milk, for example, the animal needs to be kept pregnant and in many cases the offspring is killed soon after birth. Even simple actions such as collecting eggs may cause distress in an animal if they are treated poorly. As vegans aim to limit animal suffering and exploitation it makes sense that they would in the very least not support such establishments.

Someone once made a point to me that's really stuck home that, while we often get in arms about ensuring animals have a "natural" life, natural life for most animals would mean letting them live in fear and get messily devoured when they weren't too busy dying of sickness or starvation instead. In which case, well treated domesticated animals really are living the dream. And I think we can all agree no matter what we eat that improving animal welfare is a good thing biggrin.gif

 

Oooh, I hadn't considered the unwanted offspring thing. I didn't know about cows being able to produce milk without babies, either, thanks shienvien! That would be one solution, or simply storing milk gained while raising a normal herd and then waiting for some of the animals to pass on before breeding more. Dairy cows can produce crazy quantities of milk so it might last quite some time, especially with multiple animals.

 

And ah, to get back to the main point! Yes, I totally understand people who avoid milk / eggs due to factory farming. What I DON'T get are people who go a step further and would reject eggs and milk from animals that were well cared for and obviously not losing anything in the process. Again the well treated backyard livestock example. :3 Although perhaps most vegans actually don't think like that?

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If the unwanted offspring of the dairy cows are killed shortly after birth, the obvious solution is to feed them to me carnivorous pets that can't survive without meat like cats and dogs.

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If the unwanted offspring of the dairy cows are killed shortly after birth, the obvious solution is to feed them to me carnivorous pets that can't survive without meat like cats and dogs.

I'd still rather see the animals get to live a bit of life first. I don't eat veal or lamb for ethical reasons and wouldn't want my pets eating it, either...

 

Also semi-related on the unwanted animals part, but with artificial insemination now farmers are able to choose to produce, say, just female dairy cows rather than males that would probably be culled for being unprofitable. Imagine if we could do that for egg chickens, too. So many deaths avoided... I still remember an awful video of newborn male chicks being butchered sad.gif

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I'd still rather see the animals get to live a bit of life first. I don't eat veal or lamb for ethical reasons and wouldn't want my pets eating it, either...

 

Also semi-related on the unwanted animals part, but with artificial insemination now farmers are able to choose to produce, say, just female dairy cows rather than males that would probably be culled for being unprofitable. Imagine if we could do that for egg chickens, too. So many deaths avoided... I still remember an awful video of newborn male chicks being butchered sad.gif

While they could probably do that they most likely would not, as males are still needed in order to reproduce and would likely still be killed, just at a later date. The females would also be butchered after they stop producing milk, in the end that would simply delay their deaths.

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I've never heard of most dairy calves being slaughtered shortly after being born; females are important to dairy farm for obvious reasons, and while bulls are less valuable they're still valuable... even veal tends to be a few months old before slaughter. Not exactly a short amount of time when you consider the amount of work that goes into several months of cow.

 

And yeah, chickens lay eggs all the ding-dang time. They only stop when they're broody or too old, and "too old" is like... seven years for an animal that lives about a decade? Most meat chickens are actually of a breed that cannot be humanely kept for longer than the age they're usually slaughtered at due to heart problems. I don't support breeding that breed due to this, but people have tried to raise them and they die pretty dramatically shortly after that point.

 

And honestly... you need to slaughter excess roosters if you don't have the space for them. The alternative is that they will tear each other apart in horrific bloodbaths because even the gentlest roosters are extremely territorial, and they will harass the hens to severe sickness because the hen:roo ratio is off. You can't just not produce roosters as a chicken farmer either, because you need those to make more chickens. e: Also, AI is really expensive for smaller farms. It's just cheaper to allow nature to happen for a lot of breeds.

 

Culling is not the cruelest thing that can happen to livestock. It is sometimes the most humane thing that can happen to livestock, even if it's gross and distasteful.

Edited by Guillotine

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I've never heard of most dairy calves being slaughtered shortly after being born; females are important to dairy farm for obvious reasons, and while bulls are less valuable they're still valuable... even veal tends to be a few months old before slaughter. Not exactly a short amount of time when you consider the amount of work that goes into several months of cow.

 

And yeah, chickens lay eggs all the ding-dang time. They only stop when they're broody or too old, and "too old" is like... seven years for an animal that lives about a decade? Most meat chickens are actually of a breed that cannot be humanely kept for longer than the age they're usually slaughtered at due to heart problems. I don't support breeding that breed due to this, but people have tried to raise them and they die pretty dramatically shortly after that point.

 

And honestly... you need to slaughter excess roosters if you don't have the space for them. The alternative is that they will tear each other apart in horrific bloodbaths because even the gentlest roosters are extremely territorial, and they will harass the hens to severe sickness because the hen:roo ratio is off. You can't just not produce roosters as a chicken farmer either, because you need those to make more chickens. e: Also, AI is really expensive for smaller farms. It's just cheaper to allow nature to happen for a lot of breeds.

 

Culling is not the cruelest thing that can happen to livestock. It is sometimes the most humane thing that can happen to livestock, even if it's gross and distasteful.

 

Culling is very cruel and is in no way humane. Killing something after only a few months when it can live up to 15 years or more is not a long life. Not to mention that many bulls are kept in tiny pens barely larger than themselves, some life that is... Even when you claim that the animal can give milk/eggs for a while so it doesn't get killed immediately, that only applies to what, 50% of the population? There is a reason they are called dairy cows, as you know the males cannot produce it. If farmers complain about the work they put into their animals perhaps they should realise that livestock are not even very efficient to have as food in the first place.

 

The reason why many meat chickens, and other domestic animals by the way, are unhealthy is because humans bred them to have more meat and other products which gave rise to genetic defects and other health problems which cause such short lives. Using this as an excuse to kill animals is completely irrational, if humans had not felt the need to eat them in the first place they would not be dying so shortly after hatching/being born. If anything it means people should stop before they make it even worse for the animals.

 

Why would someone even have excess roosters? Hens can lay eggs without them. If you do not have the space then do not breed chickens, the same applies for any other animal... Also since you mentioned AI, you do realise that that can increase the chances for further genetic defects occurring?

 

There is no way that you could possibly justify slaughtering perfectly healthy living creatures as humane...

Edited by Weregazebo

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Culling is very cruel and is in no way humane. Killing something after only a few months when it can live up to 15 years or more is not a long life. Not to mention that many bulls are kept in tiny pens barely larger than themselves, some life that is... Even when you claim that the animal can give milk/eggs for a while so it doesn't get killed immediately, that only applies to what, 50% of the population? There is a reason they are called dairy cows, as you know the males cannot produce it. If farmers complain about the work they put into their animals perhaps they should realise that livestock are not even very efficient to have as food in the first place.

 

  The reason why many meat chickens, and other domestic animals, by the way, are unhealthy is because humans bred them to have more meat and other products which gave rise to genetic defects and other health problems which cause such short lives. Using this as an excuse to kill animals is completely irrational, if humans had not felt the need to eat them in the first place they would not be dying so shortly after hatching/being born. If anything it means people should stop before they make it even worse for the animals.

 

  Why do you even have excess roosters? If you do not have the space then do not breed chickens, the same applies for any other animal... Also since you mentioned AI, you do realise that that can increase the chances for further genetic defects occurring?

 

  There is no way that you could possibly justify slaughtering perfectly healthy living creatures as humane...

You can have far more hens in a given space than roosters. A ratio of 1:15 or so of roosters:hens is ideal, and that's in a very small space, so if your clutches keep giving more roosters when you need hens, you're probably going to keep breeding and slaughter the roosters. And again, for many small farmers and backyard chicken-havers, AI is not an option due to expense and ease of use. And while there are people who give away excess roosters, it's a lot of effort when the cookpot is right there. e: Also, you can't guarantee that you aren't giving them away to a fighting ring if you give them away. At least if they're dead you know what happened to them. Larger operations likely use AI more frequently, but then we get into the general poor treatment of animals in factory farms.

 

If the alternative is animals dying in horrible ways due to overcrowding (seriously, chickens can and will do horrible things to each other even without overcrowding--they aren't herbivores and will gladly cannibalize a wounded flock member), a quick, humane death is far preferable.

 

I do agree that the lives of most veal cattle is inhumane, but it's not their death that's inhumane, it's the conditions they're kept in before that death. Properly done, culling is not the worst thing to happen to an animals because it is very nearly instant. And if you're going to cull an animal, it's best to have the respect enough to give the body a purpose after it is killed.

 

And if you actually read my post instead of jumping at the one italicized line, you'd know that I mentioned opposing the breeding of animals with deliberately short lifespans (and relatedly, the breeding of animals that cannot naturally breed...).

Edited by Guillotine

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You can have far more hens in a given space than roosters. A ratio of 1:15 or so of roosters:hens is ideal, and that's in a very small space, so if your clutches keep giving more roosters when you need hens, you're probably going to keep breeding and slaughter the roosters. And again, for many small farmers and backyard chicken-havers, AI is not an option due to expense and ease of use. And while there are people who give away excess roosters, it's a lot of effort when the cookpot is right there. e: Also, you can't guarantee that you aren't giving them away to a fighting ring if you give them away. At least if they're dead you know what happened to them. Larger operations likely use AI more frequently, but then we get into the general poor treatment of animals in factory farms.

 

If the alternative is animals dying in horrible ways due to overcrowding (seriously, chickens can and will do horrible things to each other even without overcrowding--they aren't herbivores and will gladly cannibalize a wounded flock member), a quick, humane death is far preferable.

 

I do agree that the lives of most veal cattle is inhumane, but it's not their death that's inhumane, it's the conditions they're kept in before that death. Properly done, culling is not the worst thing to happen to an animals because it is very nearly instant. And if you're going to cull an animal, it's best to have the respect enough to give the body a purpose after it is killed.

 

And if you actually read my post instead of jumping at the one italicized line, you'd know that I mentioned opposing the breeding of animals with deliberately short lifespans (and relatedly, the breeding of animals that cannot naturally breed...).

When I said that people should not breed chickens if they do not have room for all of them I meant exactly what I wrote. Saying that hens are preferable to roosters because they lay eggs is absurd when both are energy inefficient in the first place simply by being heterotrophs. If someone actually cared about the maximum amount of food they could produce they would not be raising animals.

 

The overcrowding is in no way the fault of the chickens, it is the fault of their breeders. So once again saying that slaughtering them is for their own good is absurd, especially when considering that that notion is an opinion which not all people share.

 

The reason I was referring mostly to the culling and not their treatment beforehand is because I had assumed that it was fairly obvious that mistreating animals before they are killed is bad. Yes perhaps culling is not the worst thing that can happen, but what is the alternative, living a stressful life where the animal is continually exploited before it too is inevitably killed itself? Both of those outcomes are once again due to humans' interferences in their lives. In the wild they would still succumb to other animals and disease but at least some of them would have a chance of living for more than a few weeks.

 

By the way I did read your entire post, I simply commented on some of the parts where I wanted to add something or where I disagreed, I did not direct my statements directly towards you either, I can see some of your points and also understand that some people need to eat meat. What I dislike though is when people try to justify the slaughter of animals as good especially when they use genetic defects as facts. Why does it even need to be justified? No, if I wanted to be rude and just ignore what you posted I would have done something stupid like say that because your username involves beheading people you are a horrible person or something like that.

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It's not even a matter of efficiency. Roosters are simply far more territorial than hens; you can keep over twenty hens in the same amount of space as a single rooster, and the hens would be harder to care for because you have more of them. Even if they weren't laying, you could not have as many roosters as hens because they would rip each other apart. Overpopulation of a single sex is still overpopulation, even if the flock overall needs more members to survive.

 

You cannot keep roosters the same way you can hens. They are not the same. It's like expecting a bull to act the same as a cow, except bulls are less likely to murder another bull for existing in the same field.

 

e: To use a non-livestock example, if you have an extremely dog-aggressive dog, you can only have that single dog, even if your space and resources could support more animals. That is why many DA animals are put down in shelters; a lot of the people who could handle them already have dogs, and they are not willing to put another animal's health at risk. It's the same basic concept.

 

And yes, I am well aware of the humor of someone calling themselves Guillotine advocating for humane euthanasia when the circumstances require it. Honestly, if I knew that it wouldn't make other people freak out I would not mind having the parts of me that could not be donated to other humans processed into pet food. Same idea, really.

Edited by Guillotine

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Moose(or elk) is actually my favourite meat to eat. I'd describe it as a very lean cow meat. My father and brother hunt (the hunting season started few weeks ago). So I have plenty of moose meat to eat.  tongue.gif My family has bought an extra freezer just for the meat. Even though hunting is a sport I don't think it should be done 'just for fun'. It should be done to control the animal populations and not just for the trophies.

See, that doesn't sound too bad. I've had buffalo burgers and meatballs before-- not wild, of course-- and I found it so much better than beef; I'm guessing moose will be like a gamier buffalo steak. I think I've had elk once before, maybe, but I don't think I much liked it.

 

...If it even was elk. Some of these places like to make up confusing pseudonyms so consumers don't really know what they're buying. Especially with fish. (don't buy "orange roughy")

 

Nooo, Nine, please don't convince me cows and chickens aren't stupid, then I'll feel bad about how delicious they are! xd.png

Aww, but eating intelligent things isn't necessarily bad! At least that's what I tell myself every full-moon when I turn into a cannibalistic wendigo spirit.

 

All this talk of eating things reminds me of how much I want to try insect dishes. They're apparently super cheap, super sustainable, and super healthy. Insects count as meat, right? Super meat.

 

Things like crickets, grasshoppers, scorpions, and the, uh, "crunchier" bugs don't look so bad when they're cooked or fried and mixed with veggies, rice, and stuff. Maybe because I'm not grossed out by insects in general I don't feel repulsed by the thought of eating them. The fatty, grubbier-looking bugs like roaches, larvae, and waterbugs though... I'll pass. I've seen pictures of those cooked and I still don't think I could eat one. They look like rubbery curd-filled sausages, blech.

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That's not true. Cows of dairy breeds will produce milk regardless of whether they have ever been pregnant - and that's coming from a person whose relatives did own cows and can testify it from experience (and who owns what are pretty much pet chickens herself). Chickens will likewise lay eggs no matter what, the eggs will just be unfertilized (I do have a rooster now, simply because one of the chicks I hatched grew up to be one, and I had become too fond of him to give him away).

 

Shienvien, unlike chickens, cows do need to be kept in a continuous state of fertile reproduction in order to produce milk. From the Wikipedia page for Cattle: "For dairy cattle to continue producing milk, they must give birth to one calf per year. If the calf is male, it generally is slaughtered at a young age to produce veal."

 

Also semi-related on the unwanted animals part, but with artificial insemination now farmers are able to choose to produce, say, just female dairy cows rather than males that would probably be culled for being unprofitable. Imagine if we could do that for egg chickens, too. So many deaths avoided...

 

angelicdragonpuppy, artificial insemination is just the impregnation of a female with sperm that can be collected and transported from a distant male. Farmers who artificially inseminate don't need to raise as many males to breeding age as they would otherwise. However, this means that more males are culled very young, not fewer. There appears to be a misconception in this thread that artificial insemination allows farmers to prevent the births of male offspring, thus eliminating the need for culling. It does not.

 

I don't consume or buy animal products, except eggs from the adopted hens I help take care of. My position is that we should discontinue the breeding of animals for food.

 

Current farming methods allow for the production of very cheap meat. Consumers become more likely to buy meats (and other animal products) the cheaper they are, so farmers are incentivized to produce these products as cheaply as possible. In the competitive farming market, cheap meat, not animal well-being whatsoever, is selected for. This is especially evident in the U. S. poultry meat industry, where almost nonexistent animal welfare regulations allow for extremely cheap meat at great expense to many billions of birds per year. A very good in-depth report on the state of meat chicken welfare from the Humane Society: Link

 

Selection pressure like this is the reverse of what ethics would dictate. Given the assumption that chickens have any sizable fraction of the human cognitive capacity, the negative value of six weeks of intense chicken suffering is almost definitely more than enough to offset the positive value of several humans' enjoyment of the resulting meal. Similar value comparisons, though less obviously lopsided, can be made for eggs, milk, and other meats.

 

But in any case, I don't think that confining billions of conscious animals, for life, to experience stimuli that have been engineered just to keep them producing, with no selection pressure for keeping them happy, would be permissible for any reason unless the value gained as a result was enormous, or I'm wrong and non-human animals have hardly any conscious perception at all.

Edited by wingedcat

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But in any case, I don't think that confining billions of conscious animals, for life, to experience stimuli that have been engineered just to keep them producing, with no selection pressure for keeping them happy, would be permissible [...]

I cannot for certainty make claims for all or even most farms in the US, but I can make claims of places here, and I can make claims of things I've personally seen and witnessed.

 

Sources on the internet can often be assumed to be vandalized by people who are driving their own agendas, or even fully fabricated. I personally have edited Wiki articles - mostly on computers - which have no idea what they're talking about. And that's with details people aren't typically passionate about to try and deliberately falsify.

 

If I can literally take a walk and see the cattle on the field with my own eyes, and even get into the buildings they're kept in during winter with pretty much no forewarning - and I can and have -, and spent half my life living practically with those animals (Do you think that I wouldn't have noticed if the cow my relatives had and I saw pretty much every day got pregnant and gave birth? Or the ones of the guy my father got milk from and we saw every couple of days later on? And so on and so forth...), then I have all the reasons to believe what I see over what a person with an obvious agenda says on the internet.

 

Those farm animals I know and see have much better lives than most "wild and free" animals. Wild and free animals do not have "good" lives compared to captive ones. Most farm animals in decent farms would be no happier being wild then you'd be in a treetop in Africa. As for "keeping animals happy" - that's why laws and regulations are there. Provide your animals sub-standard living conditions, bye-bye licenses and income, hello court sentences and fines.

 

On the flipside, plant industry, in addition to taking up habitats, will absolutely kill any and all creatures who as much as come near their fields, bullet, poison, net and machine. Creatures such as rats and corvids, for one, are also much smarter than cows. The only remotely animal-friendly way to grow plants outside of a patch in your back yard is greenhouses. Rows upon rows of greenhouses. But that's much more expensive than fields, and thus not so often done. No one will put wheat in a greenhouse. And humans can only eat the valuable parts of plants everyone wants.

 

I've yet to seen one person who says they will not eat meat for "moral reasons" also genuinely fight to criminalize shooting crows - who are actually fairly close to human intelligence, and actually comprehend killing - even with "indirect" methods like guns - well enough to hold grudges towards killers of their kin, and teach their children who the murderer was, too. They will also know you by your face and disregard wigs and changes in attire. Crows are people, too. I have had the lucky chance to know a companion crow; he is like an oddly wise child. Sadly, his human companion (my great-grandmother) is now years dead, but the old crow still lives...

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I respect not wanting to eat animals, and I wouldn't personally want to kill an animal with my own hands. I don't really like the idea of eating flesh, but I've been conditioned to accept it, and enjoy the flavors and textures. It even is a little creepy to me to drink milk from another animal. I prefer almond milk, personally, but WIC* has two options: dairy or soy, and I don't like soy.

 

So I'm a hypocrite when it comes to meat. I don't like the idea of it, but I ate hot dogs today.

 

Many animals are obligate carnivores, and they play a crucial role in their ecosystems. Omnivores do as well. We, as humans, kill more than we need, and we're not humane about it. So it's twisted and gross. If I could revamp the system, I'd probably do a bad job of it because I'm not qualified to make those kinds of sweeping decisions on agriculture. But I would definitely support changes to factory farming to make the way we keep livestock more humane and sustainable.

 

*Women Infants Children is a program that pays for food for women who are pregnant or have kids if they qualify, and my family qualifies. It works in the form of checks with a list of what the check will pay for: cheese, juice, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, dry beans and lentils, etc.

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But I would definitely support changes to factory farming to make the way we keep livestock more humane and sustainable.

Which is a worthy cause. The US, I've heard, doesn't have half the regulations we do, I've heard...

 

It is entirely possible to provide livestock better lives than most animals have in the wild - over here, you can usually see them free-range; with my country being not all that densely populated and land being cheap away from cities, as well as rainfall being quite abundant, it's often also cheaper/easier to have it this way during the warm period. Slaughter is also something that can easily be done much more quicker and painlessly than almost any other form of death - and death is an eventual inevitability anyway.

 

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There isn't even really a moral upside to rejecting meat in favor of plants. Borneo is my shining example here, with significant amounts of rainforest being/having been slash-and-burned to make way for palm oil plantations - actions that directly kill and displace animals, destroy their habitats and displace them, and push increasingly rare species ever closer to extinction.

 

Forest is also cleared to make room for animal farms - something that I also think should be stopped immediately.

 

Unless you're growing/raising your own foods, the moral problems people are trying to avoid by rejecting meat don't go away by switching to plant/plant-based products. Plant agriculture is environmentally, animal, and people unfriendly, too.

 

If anyone doesn't want to eat meat, that's fine. But, please, don't assume that plant agriculture is a moral high ground. It's not.

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If I can literally take a walk and see the cattle on the field with my own eyes, and even get into the buildings they're kept in during winter with pretty much no forewarning - and I can and have -, and spent half my life living practically with those animals (Do you think that I wouldn't have noticed if the cow my relatives had and I saw pretty much every day got pregnant and gave birth? Or the ones of the guy my father got milk from and we saw every couple of days later on? And so on and so forth...), then I have all the reasons to believe what I see over what a person with an obvious agenda says on the internet.

You're right shienvien; I shouldn't have used a Wikipedia article to question things you have seen with your own eyes. I'm sorry. That was unnecessarily lazy. And you were right about the article having been vandalized by someone with an agenda--apparently most male dairy calves are raised to maturity for beef, not killed for veal. However, annually impregnating cows to produce milk is the industry standard, at least in the U. S. Here's a link to an FAQ from the Midwest Dairy Association, in favor of the dairy industry, which says, "All cows produce milk once they deliver a calf. About 10 months after calving, the amount of milk the cow gives naturally decreases substantially and the cow undergoes “drying off.” About 12 to 14 months after the birth of her previous calf, a cow will calve again, thus providing milk." I don't know how or why the cows you know can produce milk without being pregnant, but for some reason this is not the industry norm.

 

As for shooting crows, I do think that it should be illegal. Crows are people, as far as I can tell. I wish I had the chance to develop a bond with a corvid like yours.

 

Which is a worthy cause. The US, I've heard, doesn't have half the regulations we do, I've heard...

 

It is entirely possible to provide livestock better lives than most animals have in the wild - over here, you can usually see them free-range; with my country being not all that densely populated and land being cheap away from cities, as well as rainfall being quite abundant, it's often also cheaper/easier to have it this way during the warm period.

 

Yes, the state of animal welfare regulations in the U. S. is abysmal. Fowl aren't even considered "animals" under the only federal animal welfare regulations we have, which is part of what enables the awful condition they're in now.

 

But what drives farms toward that state in the first place is that, in the U. S., it's not cheaper to free-range chickens. It's cheapest to pack them as tightly as possible into temperature- and light-controlled sheds, so that's what we do--and while we do often free-range cattle, we have 22 times as many chickens (and 7,500 times as many chickens as Estonia has cattle).

 

My point is that while in some cases farm animals can have better lives than their wild equivalents, the economic conditions that determine whether this is true are devoid of compassion, and more often than not show it.

 

There isn't even really a moral upside to rejecting meat in favor of plants. Borneo is my shining example here, with significant amounts of rainforest being/having been slash-and-burned to make way for palm oil plantations - actions that directly kill and displace animals, destroy their habitats and displace them, and push increasingly rare species ever closer to extinction.

 

Unless you're growing/raising your own foods, the moral problems people are trying to avoid by rejecting meat don't go away by switching to plant/plant-based products. Plant agriculture is environmentally, animal, and people unfriendly, too.

 

If anyone doesn't want to eat meat, that's fine. But, please, don't assume that plant agriculture is a moral high ground. It's not.

 

Eating straight plants is better. Animal agriculture disrupts and kills native wildlife, too, by requiring the clearing of grazing land or, more often, the use of crops that could be used to feed people to feed livestock instead. Animal agriculture is usually just an extra, unnecessary layer of suffering on top of the pain caused by plant agriculture.

 

Livestock also require much more death per calorie. Assuming that for every acre of land cleared or tilled to grow corn, 5 small animals die, that's still 3 million calories per death, since corn yields about 15 million calories per acre. A herd of beef cattle, according to this not apparently biased estimation, yields about 430,000 calories per death, not even taking into account what the cow had to eat. But most meat eaten in the U. S. isn't beef; it's poultry. And meat chickens yield only around 1,000 calories per death, not to mention six painful weeks of life!

 

As for the environmental destruction incurred by agriculture, I've come around to thinking that clearing forests is overall a good thing. It's true: animals in nature suffer (though not, I think, as much as most farmed animals) and their pain is concentrated densely in areas still untouched by human settlement. It might even be better, from a utilitarian perspective, to have a square mile of barren cattle grazing land than a square mile of rainforest, ignoring long-term environmental effects. But land devoid of both doomed cattle and wild predator-prey interactions would be best.

 

There are justified concerns about the effects of wantonly eliminating biodiversity, both on us and on other animals. I understand that we can't sterilize the whole non-human population anytime soon. But provided that work out a way to feed ourselves without using animals (and I have no doubt that we can support ourselves on very little in the way of conscious animals, even if we have to keep pollinators around for a long while), a world with a very small instance of non-human consciousness would be better for everyone. We've won the evolutionary game and are reaping the benefits; I think it's time to start applying the ethics we've developed to those who will never be so fortunate.

Edited by wingedcat

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Different breeds / increase in production? Especially if you intend to extend your herd, a calf is also the desired outcome... A small community, in turn, might not always need more cows or milk-per-cow to supply itself.

 

A lot of what agriculture produces (about 20%-25% of the harvested mass that initially goes into food processing, and all of the "non-food" part of the plant - canola greens, canola seed leftovers, grain stalks, grain processing leftovers, corn stalks, etc) is not fit for human consumption - we can't eat the cellulose-rich green parts, no one wants the mass left over when the seeds have been mostly drained of oils, or "the bits that were left on the big sieve and fell through the small sieve". This is usually cheaply sold to farms for animal feed and occasionally bedding. There is little other use for it, save for leaving it to rot.

 

we have 22 times as many chickens (and 7,500 times as many chickens as Estonia has cattle)
Estonia also has about 1/240 of the human population of the US of A, and an equally small fraction of surface area...

 

I have insisted elsewhere that the US does need proper regulations on how animals can be treated, as well as actual checks on their welfare. Even big merciless companies understand the language of operation permits being revoked if they don't comply and live up to the standard even with unannounced checks (assuming those are also strictly enforced).

 

Human population growth will eventually slow down and perhaps even reverse - the tendency of more developed countries is more often than not negative. The growth is mainly from countries which only recently attained modern medicine and haven't adapted to the lowered death rate yet.

 

I am somewhat glad you agree on crows. I do, however, not agree that a state of human-centric pure optimization is ideal, or that consciousnesses other than ours should not be plentiful.

 

(Thank you for being respectful and taking the effort to go over your facts!)

Edited by Shienvien

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As for the environmental destruction incurred by agriculture, I've come around to thinking that clearing forests is overall a good thing. It's true: animals in nature suffer (though not, I think, as much as most farmed animals) and their pain is concentrated densely in areas still untouched by human settlement. It might even be better, from a utilitarian perspective, to have a square mile of barren cattle grazing land than a square mile of rainforest, ignoring long-term environmental effects. But land devoid of both doomed cattle and wild predator-prey interactions would be best.

 

There are justified concerns about the effects of wantonly eliminating biodiversity, both on us and on other animals. I understand that we can't sterilize the whole non-human population anytime soon. But provided that work out a way to feed ourselves without using animals (and I have no doubt that we can support ourselves on very little in the way of conscious animals, even if we have to keep pollinators around for a long while), a world with a very small instance of non-human consciousness would be better for everyone. We've won the evolutionary game and are reaping the benefits; I think it's time to start applying the ethics we've developed to those who will never be so fortunate.

Trees help prevent erosion, reduce the levels of carbon in the atmosphere, provide homes for a seemingly endless variety of mammals, birds, insects, and other animals, plus fungi and other plants. I realize that animals in the wild struggle and suffer, but it isn't all suffering. They also thrive and lead their own interconnected lives. With all animals do to stay alive, they clearly would rather be alive than to have all creatures that aren't domesticated livestock and pets eliminated from the earth. I frankly find the idea of turning the whole world into farmland, cities, and suburbs with no wild areas left at all, I find that bleak and horrifying.

 

"Ignoring long term environmental effects." Ignoring current and short term environmental effects, too. It would be stripping our environment, and it isn't sustainable to wipe out all animals and plants we don't control.

 

Better for everyone? No??? Humans are not the only ones entitled to live on this planet! And evolution is not a race to the top. It is adaptation to an environment. No creature or plant is more evolved than any other. A sloth is perfectly suited for slothing, and well evolved to the needs of a sloth. We are not better at being sloths than sloths are. We cannot fill the role that animals play in the world, and it would harm us and not just the creatures and ecosystems because we rely on those ecosystems.

 

Killing of everything is not ethical, at all. It is unethical to the extreme. What is the use of compassion and empathy that we have as humans if we look at other animals and decide to ourselves that they're better off dead than feeling the slightest pain of existence? Humans struggle and feel pain and hunger and suffering. Are we better off as frozen remains on a lifeless rock in space? I don't think so. We can improve our quality of life to reduce suffering, though there always will be some suffering so long as there is life. But I think it is better to suffer a bit and also experience joys and the rest of the spectrum of emotion and experience, than to not exist. And I feel that applies to animals as well.

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