Should we go vegan?

Humans are the only animals who can choose their diets and we base these decisions based on convenience, culture, ethics, nutrition, and taste. Does veganism hold out a prospect for a sustainable, ethical, and nutritious diet? Is it too much to ask with too little benefit?

For the purposes of this debate, veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated abolitionist philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.

Veganism is a moral obligationEdit

Arguments forEdit

  •   Argument for Causing unnecessary suffering on animals is morally wrong. Exploiting animals is unnecessary and causes much suffering. Therefore, exploiting animals is morally wrong and should be abolished.
    •   Objection This does not preclude hunting and eating wild game. The custom of hunting white-tail deer in the United States is a good example of well-managed and ethical harvesting of wild game. More tags for antlered deer (which are usually male) or either sex (not issued for regular season, as far as I know) are issued than for antlerless/female deer to minimize impact on the population. Hunters generally prefer older antlered deer that have lived through the majority of their expected lifespan. They are harvested in a manner no less humane (and usually much more humane) than how they'd typically expire from senescence or predation by other wild animals. This combination of cultural habits and effective regulation is an example of sustainable and ethical consumption of meat.
    •   Objection Non-human animals have no feelings and suffer no pain.
      •   Objection Non-human animals behave very similarly to us humans under circumstances that would cause us pain: they scream (or produce other noises), shake, contort, run, try to avoid the source of pain, etc.
      •   Objection Non-human animals, especially mammals and birds, have a nervous system very similar to our own.
    •   Objection Animals in the wild suffer more, as starvation and predation is a constant threat to them. For a natural equilibrium, all animal species living in the wild live at the brink of starvation, as an excess of food leads to their numbers increasing, then collapsing.
      •   Objection Animals in factory farms suffer guaranteed predation at a fraction of their natural life span. They don't lack food, true, but they are systematically mutilated, exploited, denied of basic freedom of movement, electrocuted, kicked, and many, many, many other atrocities. In traditional farms, animals are denied freedom of movement and reproduction, and also suffer guaranteed predation at a fraction of their natural life span.
        •   Objection Being stunned then sent to be butchered is far better than being eaten by lions.
    •   Objection Plants also feel and suffer. Therefore, by this argument, we shouldn't eat plants and we would have to starve.
      •   Objection A central nervous system is necessary for suffering. Plants don't have a central nervous system so they don't suffer.
      •   Objection Even if plants suffered, their suffering would be necessary because we need to eat plants to survive. On the other hand, we don't need to exploit animals to survive and thrive.
        •   Objection We don't need to exploit plants either. The Inuit people survive on an almost completely carnivorous diet.
    •   Objection Nowadays there's cultured meat.
      •   Objection Yes, but only at small scale and high cost. We have yet to see if it ever becomes a viable commercial option.
  •   Argument for Animal agriculture is the main cause of deforestation around the world.[1] Farmers chop and burn trees to make room for cattle to graze, and to grow crops, most of which is used to feed cattle living in feedlots. To fight against global warming and protect biodiversity, humanity should go vegan.
    •   Objection This only implies that we shouldn't increase animal agriculture. If we don't increase it, there would be no need to cut down forests to make more room for animal agriculture. If we wanted to increase forest coverage by taking area away from animal agriculture, we could decrease meat and dairy consumption, so the deforestation argument doesn't warrant a complete change to veganism.
  •   Argument for It takes much more land to sustain an omnivore diet than a vegan diet. World population is expected to reach 11 billion before it starts to decrease.[2] Feeding all those people will be impossible if the current trend towards a diet with more animal products continues. To prevent even more starvation, humanity should go vegan.
    •   Objection Veganism is not going to stop a malthusian crisis. At best it's a stop-gap measure. If malthusian growth is an accurate model for the populations you're going to feed with all that extra food, then other measures (preferably a one child policy) must be implemented before hunger can be addressed without compounding the problem.
      •   Objection World population is expected to reach 11 billion before it starts to decrease.[2] More and better birth control and higher standards of living are leading to less children per women, so veganism doesn't need to stop a malthusian crisis.
        •   Objection It is not clear whether these selective pressures affect a nation's population uniformly or instead a more specific sub-population. Without a clear idea of what is selected for, this could have far-reaching and potentially negative effects on genetic fitness. A one-child policy is less likely to disfavor specific traits and more likely an effective course of action to combat hunger and lessen human impact on the environment than a set of lifestyle choices or cultural changes.
    •   Objection The food herbivores eat cannot be digested effectively by humans, so eating meat means more food, not less. For example, cows can digest grass, while humans cannot, so it would not make sense to eat grass directly. More land dedicated to meat production would mean more food, not less.
    •   Objection In the developed world a lot of food is thrown away, as not all of the surplus can be redistributed to other areas of the world, due to logistical, economical, political, etc. problems. This means that if developing countries started consuming less food, this food wouldn't magically teleport to the tables of people who have food shortages.
      •   Objection Then fix those problems. Either way, animal product-based diets are more resource intensive from energy, land, and water. More efficient food sources are better all things being equal and we are in the midst of huge crises of resources—environmentally, economically, politically. We shouldn't compound those with meat and other animal products.
    •   Objection That current trend towards more meat in the diet would naturally go away due to supply and demand. If meat becomes more expensive, and then people would eat less meat, veganism would grow more common even if nobody was advocating it for simple economic reasons, and the problem would solve itself. Also overpopulation is a problem that solves itself, just look at any animal species, when a species of animal becomes overpopulated, they naturally have their population either stabilize or go down.
      •   Objection This assumes a lot about markets being rational (they are not) and if we aren't even arguing for some kind of state intervention in a market—humans can choose to deliberately control markets as private actors. There used to be a market for child labor but we deliberately chose to stop employing it rather than let the invisible hand somehow naturally move away from it. If the exploitation of children, slaves, or non-human animals is wrong, then we shouldn't just put our faith in a promissory note of markets to somehow stop exploitation.
  •   Argument for Billions of animals are slaughtered without mercy every year, in systematic and extremely cruel ways.[3]
    •   Objection This only implies that we should avoid or abolish factory farming, not that we should go vegan.
    •   Objection The meat industry is getting more humane.[citation needed]
      •   Objection Not really, but even if it did, it will always be more humane to not eat and otherwise exploit the animals.
  •   Argument for It takes anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of meat.[4] Such inefficiency is unacceptable when over a billion people lack access to clean water.
    •   Objection Meat production may be a very inefficient use of water, but saving that water doesn't mean that it will be given to the people who lack it, and saving for the sake of saving makes no sense, as water follows a cycle and will return, eventually.
      •   Objection Saving water is an end unto itself as it's a precious resource and the treatment of water is an important part of the water cycle in the anthropocene. In addition to the waste that goes into using the water to grow animals for food, they are also huge polluters of the water system—specifically pig farms. Just never using that water in the first place relieves a huge strain on our infrastructure.
    •   Objection This argument only implies that we should reduce or avoid meat, not every other animal product.
    •   Objection Beyond the raising, meat requires minimal additional water whereas something like rice, lentils, beans all requires 2-3× their volume in water to be edible.
      •   Objection Rice doesn't actually need much water to grow—rather it is used as a pesticide. If someone were eating exclusively very water-intensive vegan foods, then this would be a problem but no one would be as a diet composed entirely of almonds is not nutritious.
    •   Objection Lack of access to clean water is a matter of technology being affordable (borewells, desalination etc). We don't have a shortage or scarcity of clean drinking water as we do with exhaustible resources like oil or natural gas.
    •   Objection Because not everything grows everywhere, but animals can be raised locally, removing all meat from the diet necessitates a larger amount of pollution from transporting food.
  •   Argument for The main cause of premature death among humans are cardiovascular diseases. The main cause of cardiovascular diseases are clogged arteries.[citation needed] The main cause of clogged arteries are animal products.[citation needed]
    •   Objection That is an oversimplification of the matter. First of all, the main cause of cardiovascular disease is not clogged arteries, rather that cardiovascular disease is often used to refer to clogged arteries. However, when one takes into account all possible diseases of the cardiovascular system, the leading cause is actually genetic.[citation needed] Furthermore, while it is true that atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries, is often linked to one's diet, it is not necessarily true that animal products are the problem. In the past, cholesterol has been blamed for heart disease, but this, as well as most other claims made by dieticians, is still very disputed and inconclusive.
      •   Objection We all evolved in very dangerous environments and our species survived but that doesn't mean we should expose ourselves to increased danger. It's correct that there is some shaky science on whether or not animal protein is more dangerous than plant protein but it's definitely true that eating certain animal products (e.g. red meat) is associated with very serious and debilitating health problems. Furthermore, some are almost entirely from animal products, such as mercury poisoning from fish and salmonella from undercooked chicken and eggs. Diversity is key to survival but we can have entirely balanced and diverse diets without animal products. For the subset of humans who can't realistically have a balanced diet without supplementing it with animal products due to availability or special health concerns, then that is a different story. For the great majority of us, veganism is a a legitimate healthy diet that inarguably avoids many health risks which are exclusive or far more common to omnivorous diets.
        •   Objection Why should we go through the trouble of restricting our own diets for reasons other than health?
  •   Argument for Each cow produces between 70 and 120 kilograms of methane per year, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. There are almost 1 billion cows alive at any given time. That's equivalent to about 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.[5] Getting rid of this methane emission would make a big difference in the fight against climate change.
    •   Objection There are other solutions for this problem other than going vegan, such as favoring animals which don't produce methane, like chickens.
      •   Objection A vegan diet would be one solution to this problem plus it would solve many other problems.

Arguments againstEdit

  •   Argument against Animal products are delicious.
    •   Objection We may get pleasure from a lot of activities but that doesn't justify them.
      •   Objection That an activity is pleasurable is still, all else equal, a point in its favour.
        •   Objection Granted, but eating animal products causes unmeasurable amounts of harm, to humans, the environment and especially animals. Even if the industry were to become utopian (which is extremely unlikely) we'd still be killing animals in huge numbers and at a fraction of their natural life.
      •   Objection Under utilitarian ethics an act being pleasurable can sometimes be justification enough, at least if the harm done is sufficiently little, so the question of justification depends on which ethical framework is being used.
        •   Objection Certainly but if we use a utilitarian/consequentialist ethic, the strongest arguments are against increasing suffering. Similar arguments could be made with other meta-ethical theories but this is not an argument against veganism if we assume utilitarianism--it's only an argument against utilitarianism as such.
    •   Objection Vegan foods exist which are equally if not more delicious. Tastes are different for different persons but it is much easier to make vegan equivalents of meat and cheese than it is to turn meat into a substance that tastes like broccoli. Even if you insist on the taste or texture of meat and cheese, it's possible to duplicate those fairly convincingly with plant-based products.
      •   Objection These foods are more expensive and harder to find than meat, with a totally different nutrient profile.
      •   Objection The fact that some food is delicious is subjective, each one is biased while judging this. But we can assume that the majority of humanity find meat delicious, and a lot of them will find a big part of vegan food awful, and even if their tastes are biased, it doesn't make it less real for them.
  •   Argument against With the exception of plants, all life forms feed on other life forms. Feeding on animals is therefore as ethical as feeding on any other life form.
    •   Objection Animals, unlike plants, are able to feel and suffer, and humans are not obligate carnivores like cats. Therefore feeding on animals is not as ethical as feeding on plants.
      •   Objection Plants are very much capable of feeling and suffering, and even scream in the ultrasonic frequency when cut.[6] Ethics are subjective, and claiming eating plants is more ethical than eating animals makes just as much sense as claiming eating fish is more ethical than eating red meat since fish don't feel pain, or that boiling lobsters alive doesn't hurt them.
        •   Objection "Ethics are subjective" begs the question. Also, to say it is more ethical to eat plants than animals is not to say plants don't feel pain at all. Finally, it could very well be true that eating fish is more ethical than eating red meat, as one could say a cow has a higher level of sentience (and a greater capability to feel pain) than a fish.
      •   Objection Animals can be raised in ways that allow them to live happy lives, and slaughtered with quick, painless, humane methods. Animals that live such lives have a whole lot more happiness in their lives than suffering, even if they do end up as meat. Maybe this is not commonly done at factory farms, but many family farmers are good to their animals.
        •   Objection But this doesn't justify exploiting them. Tacit in your argument is the notion that less exploitation is better so surely no exploitation is best.
      •   Objection Plants feel and suffer too,[citation needed] they've been proven to respond to being harmed and even scream ultrasonically.[6]
        •   Objection Even if they did, we'd be causing much more suffering by growing the plants, feeding them to the animals and then killing the animals to eat them, than by eating the plants directly.
          •   Objection Animals can eat more than just plants.
            •   Objection Fish? Insects? Fungi? Bacteria? In the end, they all eat plants. Plants are at the base of the food chain, so eating them directly is the less-harmful diet.
  •   Argument against Humans have canine teeth, so we're supposed to eat meat.
    •   Objection Most herbivores and omnivores have canines. Canines are not a trait exclusive to carnivores.
  •   Argument against Most domesticated animal species would go extinct if we stopped raising them, as they are unable to survive in the wild.
    •   Objection The extinction of species that are not fit to survive in the wild is natural, and even if we did have an ethical obligation to protect species from extinction, a vegan world could easily maintain populations of domesticated animals for this reason alone, as we would other species that are extinct in the wild.
    •   Objection Wild aurochs are extinct. Domestication saved cattle from extinction.
  •   Argument against Animals grow all year round. Edible crops might not. In some regions, keeping and eating animals is a better use of the land than trying to cultivate it. For example the Arctic regions around the world, from Alaska to Greenland to northern Canada to Siberia to northern Norway. The land there is not suited to agriculture, but there are plenty of fish in the sea, and larger animals such as seals which feed on the fish and are also an essential part of the diet of people who live there. If you are a member of the Inuit people, the traditional Inuit cuisine is probably the best diet to eat if you want to survive in the frigid north.
    •   Objection Since those living in and near the Arctic Circle are less than 1/100th of a percent of the population, their meat consumption is mostly irrelevant to the larger point about the impact of exploiting animals on a global scale.
      •   Objection So being a minority means their actions and lifestyle do not matter?
    •   Objection These are probably good reasons why no one should live in the extreme north anyway—this is simply not a natural habitat for humans, so we aren't justified for trying to exploit it as much as possible for our benefit.
      •   Objection That is irrelevant to the discussion.
  •   Argument against Many of the problems with meat and dairy farming as practised currently could be solved without necessarily abolishing it entirely, such as by drastically reducing the amount of meat in people's omnivorous diets, and by abolishing factory farming in particular, so it's not necessary for humanity to go vegan.
    •   Objection That would likely make the costs of animal products as food skyrocket so the market solution would be a drastic reduction in their intake.
    •   Objection If reducing consumption of animal products is a good thing, then reducing it even more is probably an even better thing. We won't have to worry about the problems of excess in these industries if we don't have these industries. Once a critical mass of humanity stops seeing other animals as something fun for us to exploit for profit and pleasure, then we can disincentivize anyone else from what are clearly cruel and wasteful excesses through social pressure, laws, market forces, changes in morality, etc. It isn't likely that humans will stop exploiting animals entirely, but it's also not likely that murder, rape or slavery will be eradicated entirely—we should still stand up against those heinous practices. In some sense, modern-day slavery may well be preferable to the slavery of centuries past but it's still fundamentally wrong. A gentler form of exploitation is nice in some sense but allowing it to continue just because it's better is actually worse in the long run because it brutalizes us.
  •   Argument against Veganism is a privilege, a first-world phenomenon.
    •   Objection The fact that something is a privilege doesn't imply that we shouldn't strive for it.
  •   Argument against Most people can't afford a healthy vegan diet. Telling these people that their way of life is morally inferior because you can afford a healthy diet that avoids making any animals suffer but they don't is moral elitism.
    •   Objection The cheapest food in the market is vegan: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, tubers, etc.
      •   Objection Cheapest in first world countries, you mean, due to the exploitation of third world countries.
        •   Objection And most other places too, since you will always have to grow grain to feed livestock. Many farmers in western China for instance are vegans or ovo-vegetarians because they can't afford meat, and dairy simply isn't a part of Chinese cuisine.
  •   Argument against For many groups, eating meat is culturally significant. Many would not willingly give up meat completely, and forcing them to do so would infringe on their liberties.
    •   Objection There are many cultural, economic, political, and religious traditions that we change or give up entirely because a better alternative is available. Slavery and the prejudicial attitudes which allow it are almost universal in human history but we can recognize that it is exploitative and wrong.
      •   Objection Slavery is an issue of human rights. Less sentient beings cannot truly appreciate having equal rights to humans.
        •   Objection Nor can baby humans but they still have rights and interests that they may not be able to appreciate. Rights are rights even if someone isn't cognizant of them.
          •   Objection One characteristic of almost all baby humans is that they grow up into adult humans, unlike non-sapient species. Furthermore we do restrict the rights of humans under a certain age, like their right to give sexual consent or their right to drink alcohol.
    •   Objection No one is arguing that everyone should be coerced into being vegan.
      •   Objection How else do you expect every human to go vegan? This is clearly a debate and there are inevitably people who will not forgo meat and animal products by choice.
        •   Objection I also expect everyone else to not murder or not assault me: I don't anticipate that everyone has to be coerced into having a conscience. But just like how animal cruelty is illegal, it's entirely possible to reframe other warrantless exploitation of animals as cruel and illegalize it.
  •   Argument against Humans are natural omnivores. Eating an herbivore diet when you are a member of an omnivore species is unnatural, and going against our natural diet is likely to be unhealthy unless you put a whole lot of energy and research into your nutrition.
    •   Objection Even if humans were natural omnivores, it doesn't imply that we ought to eat meat, since we can survive and thrive on a plant-based diet (many vegans do).
    •   Objection Humans are naturally herbivores, just like our closest relatives the gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees. Evidence for this can be drawn from the length of our intestines (similar to that of other herbivores), lack of strong canines (or strong teeth in general), ability to chew in a sidewise motion, lack of claws or other natural weapons, and evolutionary past as tree-dwelling, fruit-eating and plant-munching monkeys.
      •   Objection Bonobos and chimpanzees are omnivores, and gorillas eat insects too. In fact every animal will eat meat if given the chance. Lack of strong canines is not a sign of herbivory because hippos, which are mainly herbivorous, have large canines. We also do not kill animals using our teeth or other natural weapons, at least not most of the time, so this is not an argument for herbivory. The ability to chew sideways is not an exclusively herbivorous trait. Our evolutionary past does not define who we are today. The very first animal was a carnivore, that does not make us carnivores today (though the Inuit people are evidence we can survive as such.)
      •   Objection Omnivore simply means there is the capability to digest and benefit animal cells, which there are.
        •   Objection Even if we can that doesn't mean we should. Humans can choose our diets and broadly speaking, we can. Due to economics, circumstance, and medical issues, this can be difficult but humans are not bound to instinctual diets like other animals.
      •   Objection Vampire finches are carnivorous and related to house finches.
        •   Objection Vampire finches are not carnivorous—they occasionally drink blood and eat eggs.
          •   Objection Which makes them omnivores.
  •   Argument against Non-human animals don't deserve the same rights.
    •   Objection Rights are conventions, not natural laws. The only reason why humans "deserve" rights is because we say so. Similarly, we can give rights to non-human animals if we decide to.
    •   Objection Non-human animals have rights whether or not humans recognize them, just like how other humans can ignore the rights of some humans but that doesn't make them cease to exist.
    •   Objection Even if animals didn't have rights, they still have interests and those can be relevant to our decision-making. We don't have to require non-human animals to have rights in order to take into account their suffering and how we brutalize ourselves by exploiting non-human animals.
  •   Argument against Factory farming could be ended without necessarily converting everyone to veganism (although we would have to eat less meat). The relevant comparison is between life in the wild and the most humane methods of farming meat that we could plausibly institute.
    •   Objection Any scheme to end factory farming will certainly result in animal products being much less economical or realistic an option for many of us. So while eating meat and other animal products from non-factory farms is of course possible even now and while the cessation of factory farms wouldn't demand veganism, it would certainly be a wise choice from the perspective of your pocketbook. If a lower intake of meat is cheaper, an even lower one of no meat is liable to be cheaper still.
      •   Objection Until a few decades ago, factory farms didn't even exist, yet most people ate still ate meat. There are still plenty of farmers who do not work on factory farms, and if we eliminated the factory farm competition, they would be able to earn a better living, and this would increase the standard of living in many poor countries across the world, if more people bought produce from family farms where the farmers know the animals individually and treat them better. People might not eat as much meat without factory farms, but they would probably still eat some, at least on special occasions.
        •   Objection True, there are many contexts for meat-eating and the exploitation of non-human animals but the environmental reason for being vegan is because of factor farms. The problem is real and much worse than it was a few decades ago, so since this industry is a massive polluter, that is a good motivation for not supporting them. Most of us would argue that less meat eating and less animal exploitation is certainly better but if that is better than surely none of it is what is best.
  •   Argument against Vegan diets are unhealthy, they can't provide all necessary nutrients.
    •   Objection This is plainly untrue as there are healthy vegans. If you are arguing that in practice there are vegans who eat unhealthy (i.g. "junk food vegans") then that is also true of every other diet. If you are arguing that in principle balanced vegan diets are unhealthy, that is not the case since anything potentially lacking in a vegan diet can be made up for with supplements.
      •   Objection If your diet relies on supplements to give you the necessary nutrients to survive, then perhaps you are not meant for that diet.
    •   Objection As stated by the American Dietetic Association, a vegetarian or vegan diet is nutritionally adequate and healthful for an individual in all stages of life. All of the nutrients obtained from an omnivorous diet can also be obtained from a vegan diet.
  •   Argument against Dietary restrictions don't benefit humans.
  •   Argument against The reorganization of legal property regimes and land use concepts in policy is preferable to veganism. Ethno-agriculture, ethnoforestry, ethnobotany, etc. have shown us that the indigenous peoples of the Americas had a far more sophisticated civilization than we understood at the time, and that we failed to see it because of how alien it was to colonial land use concepts. If the right to exclusivity and exclusion over land were removed from the "bundle of sticks" of property rights, and Native sovereignty (a concept not descended from the Eclectic or Westphalian notion), then urban design and civic infrastructure in general could be changed to enhance rather than antagonize biodiversity, and additionally permit fauna to return to their natural state of continental roaming. Permaculture techniques provide a rough approximation of comparable practices to those of indigenous people, but indigenous people themselves should also be permitted to take over the Bureau of Land Management, and to handle land use policies in the municipalities and lands that immediately surround the lands where they live. Houses themselves should be conceptually reimagined as being part of a positive contribution to nature. There are complaints about overpopulation, but this only makes sense of the ecological output of each individual is a negative rather than a positive quantity. Were massive ecological and land use reforms made, vegan arguments would begin to lack relevance. Such a legal reinvention would exclude the possibility of industrial farms of present scale, and yet produce more food, though probably resulting in less meat consumption overall, which is healthier. Once fauna were permitted to roam the continent, their populations would be more stable and robust, and so it would be less of a concern to permit people merely to slay the fauna that came near them if they felt they wanted more meat than localized and ecologically sustainable meat producers could offer them. Under this proposal it becomes clear that Veganism is a notion fairly specific to Colonial thought paradigms. It has no suggestions for land use, property concepts, agricultural reform, etc. but is merely the suggestion that animal agriculture as practiced now is immoral. It is, this is readily perceptible. The Vegan is typically comfortable with every Colonial land use practice except industrial animal agriculture. Many indigenous tribes slay animals as a component of their ancient and sacred traditions, and if they were permitted to expand their traditional knowledge into land use policy, they would dramatically improve their environments. This possibility by itself, appears to discredit the notion that the slaying of an animal in and of itself, decontextualized from colonial systems, is a moral wrong. It would be the most myopic variety of Colonial thinking to apply a universal moral claim towards the judgment of indigenous people. There is also the problem that it is especially difficult to replicate the macronutrient profile of meat from plant sources, and under the Colonial system the vast majority of people have neither the funds, time, emotional resources, gastronomic sophistication, or education, to make such an ascetic transition. Where a Colonial style moral universal is applied to antagonize the moral culpability of individuals in poverty, the argument suffers from a fatal deontological flaw.[Overly long?]

Reducing meat consumption is a moral obligationEdit

  •   Argument for Humans currently produce food for 10 billion people, but about a third of the crop is fed to animals, which leaves about a billion people without enough food. Going vegan would go a long way in helping end world hunger.
    •   Objection Animals can also eat things we can not, such as grass or poison ivy, so producing more meat would mean more food, not less.
    •   Objection Or we can just produce more food from sources that don't require arable land, like fishing.
      •   Objection Eating fish would use much less land but that is also irrelevant to freeing up land for other purposes which are more efficient, helpful, or economical. So yes, we could convert to pescetarian diets and then use land for other purposes but this is just part of the green argument against eating meat.
    •   Objection Many food sources animals eat are inedible to humans. For instance cows eat grass and while humans can technically eat grass, we cannot digest the cellulose whereas cows can, so if we eat cellulose-rich plants, the vast majority of the energy in the food is wasted as we cannot digest cellulose. Cows convert the cellulose into chemicals that humans are capable of digesting. Eating animals is a way to indirectly get nutrition from food sources that are not directly digestible by humans.
      •   Objection But we can still get far more efficient and effective nutrition from other sources so we could convert a small percentage of that grassland into farmland.

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Livestock's long shadow by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  2. 2.0 2.1 Don't panic - Hans Rosling on the facts about population
  3. Earthlings - Documentary about the daily cruelty to animals on a worldwide scale
  4. "How much water is needed to produce food and how much do we waste?". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Meat production requires a much higher amount of water than vegetables. IME state that to produce 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water whereas to produce 1kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 litres of water.
  5. For comparison, in 2011, our burning of fossil fuels released 33 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Le Quéré, C., A. K. Jain, M. R. Raupach, J. Schwinger, S. Sitch, B. D. Stocker, N. Viovy, S. Zaehle, C. Huntingford, P. Friedlingstein, R. J. Andres, T. Boden, C. Jourdain, T. Conway, R. A. Houghton, J. I. House, G. Marland, G. P. Peters, G. Van Der Werf, A. Ahlström, R. M. Andrew, L. Bopp, J. G. Canadell, E. Kato, P. Ciais, S. C. Doney, C. Enright, N. Zeng, R. F. Keeling, K. Klein Goldewijk, S. Levis, P. Levy, M. Lomas, and B. Poulter. "The global carbon budget 1959–2011." Earth System Science Data Discussions 5, no. 2 (2012): 1107–1157.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Khait, I.; Lewin-Epstein, O.; Sharon, R.; Saban, K.; Perelman, R.; Boonman, A.; Yovel, Y.; Hadany, L. (2019-12-02). "Plants emit informative airborne sounds under stress". bioRxiv: 507590. doi:10.1101/507590. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/507590v4.