1. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are there too many farm animals in the world?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Nov 20, 2015.

    Interesting, I believe, article by George Monbiot in the Guardian Newspaper today.

    In it he suggests that the real population crisis that is threatening the world is the increase in farm animals, which significantly outweighs human population growth in numbers, biomass, and ecological effect.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/19/population-crisis-farm-animals-laying-waste-to-planet
     
  2. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    George is prone to hyperbole which makes me a bit wary of his articles, but I agree with the general point that people should eat less meat. Ruminants are one of the world's biggest producers of methane, which is pretty much as bad as greenhouse gasses get, and some of the intensive production methods used to supply us with the amount of meat we want are pretty foul.

    I'm not convinced on the soy bean thing - I'm told by people who know more about it than me that while it's true soy takes less land per harvest, it's usually farmed by the slash-and-burn technique so it's land that can only be used once before it's horribly degraded. Land used for chickens can stay land used for chickens for years.
     
  3. Necronox
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    Necronox Active Member

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    I like chicken as a meat, goes well with almost anything...

    But if your are talking over-population, the population size of ruminants are mostly due to the high demand, which is in turn mostly driven by the high human population. And while ruminants cause a lot of methane, it does not destroy an ecosystem like fishing, which is as much of an issue as greenhouse gases.

    And while land used for chickens can be used for years, they require food to feed them which I think, unless I am mistaken, require a lot of land to produce.

    Without wanting to sound like a bastard, simply speaking they is too many humans to feed, no matter where you would look for food, disadvantages will exist. This is an interesting article to read.
     
  4. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    I skimmed the article, but I think scientists are already looking at alternatives to livestock, such as growing muscle cells in labs. I don't know how many people would be for getting their steak from a petri dish though. As for soy, it has all the essential amino acids, but processed, unfermented soy (which includes tofu) is hard to digest. So there's all this great stuff that your body can't get access to.
     
  5. Necronox
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    Necronox Active Member

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    Also, I believe that scientists are trying to find a way to make cow's stomachs more like those of kangaroo's which produce significantly less methane.

    as for steak from petri dish, I don't think I would mind, it might even be excellent meat because you would be able to control the fat content, just a thought. Haven't they grown a human ear or something once? I remember someone talking to me about that some time ago but I was not paying attention so I'm not sure... or maybe that was on a rat...
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  6. Haze-world
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    Haze-world Senior Member Supporter

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    It was a mouse, a couple of years ago
     
  7. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do my part to reduce the numbers whenever possible. Tonight, for instance, you can count on there being a couple less chickens in the world.
     
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  8. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    First they came for the chickens, and I did not speak out
    because I was not poultry. No, not really. I am not your rooster, I said.
    They came for the cows, and I did not speak out
    because I was not beef enough. They came for pigs, I did not speak out
    because I was not piglish person. No, not a pig.

    Finally, they all came for me, all at once they arrived
    baa baa, baahhhh baaahhh black sheep I cried, my United Nations, I pleaded
    but to no avail.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...
     
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  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But it's not as if we'd grow MORE soy if we ate less meat. We'd grow less soy if we ate less meat, because we wouldn't be feeding it to the meat animals.

    And soy doesn't have to be grown by slash-and-burn, and it's not the only protein crop.
     
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  10. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    We don’t know how much soy we’d grow if we ate less meat. Some of it’s used as animal fodder, but we’re also likely to be eating more of it. The point was that eating soy doesn’t strike me as necessarily better for the environment than eating meat. Eating more vegetables does strike me as better for the environment - possibly I’m reading your post wrong, but it sounds like I’m saying not-convinced-about-soy and you’re reading it as not-convinced-about-vegetables.

    It doesn’t have to be, but it is, and while it’s not like all the new soy production we’d need would be done under that method, it seems dumb to assume none of it would be.

    No, it isn’t. There are others that are far better ecologically and for cookery, as far as I’m concerned - other beans being the easiest example. But soy was the one the article was talking about.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah; I misread the article. I thought that it said that soy production would be reduced by 94%; it said that " the clearance of natural vegetation" would be reduced by 94%. However, a little Googling tells me that soy is a major ingredient in livestock feed, so I'd bet that there would be less total land used for soy in a low-meat-eating situation.

    Yes, you're right. If soy is grown the usual way, I'd have an issue with GMO and with overuse of herbicides, too, so I have my own issues with soy. But I am assuming that there would be less soy grown, and I think you're assuming ("all the new soy production we'd need") that there would be more.
     
  12. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    They've managed a petri hamburger, the problem is that the fat is what gives it the flavor, so without that it was pretty bland and uninteresting.

    A friend of mine rightly points out that growing food in a pastry dish required a nutrient system that will supply all of the nutrients that are necessary for the muscle to develop. This requires creating an artificial digestive system and feeding it what a cow would normally eat.

    The problem is that we have a much more efficient system for doing that. It's called "cow" and it's even self replicating.

    Now replacing our livestock with insects? That has a lot more going for it.
     
  13. Necronox
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    Necronox Active Member

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    I agree, and, as part of living in Australia, eating flies is just part of the daily-grind, and having eaten my fair share, I can say, they do not taste particularly nice. Especially blue flies, which I find have a rather bitter aftertaste.
     

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