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Who would take care of the animals in a vegan world?

  1. Mar 23, 2010 #1
    Say everyone in the world suddenly became vegan (eating no animals products whatsoever). How would we take care of the domesticated animals (those that cannot survive without humans)?

    • Not all animals can be used for work.
    • There are 1.3 billion cattle, 2 billion pigs, 24 billion chickens, and 1 billion sheep, just to name a few domesticated animals. If you add these up, it would be 28.3 billion animals. Every person would have to take care of about 4 animals.
    • Some animals don't contribute much to society except for their products. Pigs are used for meat. Chickens are used for their eggs and meat.
    • Hiring people to take care of the animals would be pointless, since the animals won't be producing anything.
    • Zoos don't need billions of animals to exhibit.
    • Letting animals roam free would expose them to hunger and disease. They won't be able to survive.

    Possible solution: "rewild" the animals, but this would cause invasive species that would wipe out the native population of animals

    I've asked on reddit and another forum before, but I've never gotten a real, clear answer. Could Physics Forums help me? :smile:

    Sources: wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2010 #2

    Evo

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    A vegan diet is unhealthy and not sustainable without supplements, so such a scenario is more science fiction than anything else and since humans are biologically carnivores, I don't even see the point in your post. Just not going to happen. You've also neglected the other uses for animals, leather, feathers, animal feed, by-products.
     
  4. Mar 23, 2010 #3
    My question is towards the vegans who want the entire world to eat like them.
     
  5. Mar 23, 2010 #4

    Pengwuino

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    They'd die. Is that not obvious?
     
  6. Mar 23, 2010 #5

    Evo

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    Then that really makes no sense, you want to ask just vegans about the animals they don't eat?
     
  7. Mar 23, 2010 #6
    There are far more than 1 billion sheep(if you're counting the humans).
     
  8. Mar 23, 2010 #7
    No... I'm asking them about what they would do to those animals that they care so much about.
     
  9. Mar 23, 2010 #8

    Evo

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    Ah, I see. Well not all vegans care about animals, they have a belief that eliminating necessary natural nutrients in their diet and trying to replace them with artificial supplements is somehow healthier than eating the real thing.
     
  10. Mar 23, 2010 #9

    DaveC426913

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    I think it's obvious that Spreadsheet is wondering how the world would work if vegans "got their way" in the sense that no one would exploit animals. He is figuring that the vegans' plan is short-sighted and ultimately flawed.

    I think the danger of Spreadsheet's position is that he is putting words in the mouths of vegans. The question he needs to get answered first is: Do vegans think the whole world should stop exploiting animals, and what do they see that world looking like?
     
  11. Mar 23, 2010 #10

    lisab

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    Vegans don't mind having words put into their mouths; it's animals and animal by-products they object to.
     
  12. Mar 23, 2010 #11
    Yes, Dave is correct. Do vegans think the whole world should stop exploiting animals, and what do they see that world looking like?
     
  13. Mar 23, 2010 #12

    Averagesupernova

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    They would go extinct which is a very dangerous thing. I've had this conversation on PF before and the view of the poster I was discussing it with was that it was fine to let them go extinct. They just wanted to 'end the suffering' of all the animals we use for animal products, food, etc. Many animals, chicken is a good example, can forage and scrounge for their food and live off a landscape that would never support a human. This is why we have what we do today. Thousands of years of human survival because our ancestors learned how to survive by utilizing animals. We didn't end up where we are today utilizing animals for no reason at all.
     
  14. Mar 23, 2010 #13

    DaveC426913

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    I think though, your argument itself is flawed. Consider the following analogous argument:

    "What do scientists think they're doing trying to cure cancer and other disease? The world is overpopulated enough as it is, what do they think the world will look like if no one died of cancer or disease?"


    See, the cause is justified in-and-of-itself. Unwanted side-effects do not mitigate the worthiness of the cause.
     
  15. Mar 23, 2010 #14

    Chi Meson

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    So you want a "real, clear answer" to an impossible, hypothetical, question? An extreme, fringe wing of a culinary minority group will not suddenly "get their way" across the globe, so the points is lost.

    If the world should move toward global veganism (no, I am not for that; I like a good cheeseburger), but if it did so, it would "phase out" animal husbandry. The millions and billions of domesticated food animals would die by attrition. Such a cultural shift would take centuries.
     
  16. Mar 23, 2010 #15
    What supplements are necessary that cannot be found naturally in plant products?

    I would say humans are omnivores. A mostly animal matter diet sounds tasty, but I don't think that would be healthy for a human. Our biology is well-suited for digesting vegetable matter. Some web sites make the argument that humans are biologically herbivores by citing the many similarities of herbivores and humans. However, they promote an agenda, so I'd like to know specifically what traits suit us to digesting animal matter that is different from herbivores.
     
  17. Mar 23, 2010 #16

    ideasrule

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    As Huckleberry said, a well-planned vegan diet is perfectly sustainable without any supplements. A poorly-planned diet is not, but that's hardly a problem specific to vegans.

    Humans are definitely not biological carnivores. They've been functional omnivores since the hunterer-gatherer days, but their biological relatives, the primates, are primarily herbivorous. The chimpanzee, for example, gets 4% of its food from insects and 1% from meat; the rest is from plant matter.
     
  18. Mar 24, 2010 #17
    I think B-12 can only be obtained from animal products. But nowadays, a vegan could have a bowl of cereal with some soy milk and have almost an entire day's worth of vitamins and minerals.
     
  19. Mar 24, 2010 #18

    Evo

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    Yes, I meant omnivores, I thought of that around 3am, but I knew I would be corrected.
     
  20. Mar 24, 2010 #19
    I'd like to see studies that prove that vegan diet, when properly balanced and supplemented with artificial vitamins & minerals, is unhealthy. Better yet, let's consider lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (since neither milking nor collecting unfertilized eggs requires cruel treatment of animals).

    There is solid evidence that most Westerners eat too much meat. Modern dietitians recommend to eat at most 18 ounces per week, because studies have shown that exceeding that amount leads to increased risk of cancer. Americans average 60-70 ounces per week.

    So, cutting meat consumption to zero may or may not be a good idea, but many of us should definitely reduce our meat consumption by 75% or more. That may not be true veganism, but it'll surely feel like one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  21. Mar 24, 2010 #20

    Evo

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    Monique had posted an excellent study showing that artificial nutrients did not perform nearly as well as the natural vitamins and nutrients found in natural foods. I'll try to find it later.
     
  22. Mar 24, 2010 #21
    I think people are missing the extremely interesting point that OP made, in that there is a certain % of vegans that adhere to their diet because of concerns for animal wellbeing, yet by doing so they reduce demand, which subsequently reduces supply, and thus their act of not having demand for animal products directly reduces the amount of animals allowed to exist. Their goal of stopping animal exploitation by sticking to a vegan diet is reducing their population - they might as well be eating them.
     
  23. Mar 24, 2010 #22

    DaveC426913

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    What?? I'm only supposed to have a steak once a week??
     
  24. Mar 24, 2010 #23
    By that logic, it should be legal, nay, proper for you to pay some woman to conceive and carry a child to term and then raise him/her as a servant or a slave. Since NOT doing that would've directly reduced the size of human population - you might as well be enslaving them.
     
  25. Mar 24, 2010 #24

    Chi Meson

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    Do we include the weight of the ribcage with that?
     
  26. Mar 24, 2010 #25

    ideasrule

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    The original reasoning that meat consumption should be continued because domesticated animals would die without humans is nonsense. If humans stop eating meat, 99% of the current domesticated animal population would die and that would be the end of it. If humans continue eating meat, the current population would die. Their offspring would die. Their offspring's offspring would die, and so on and so forth.
     
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