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Are Vegan's, a help or a hindrance to, our future?


dimreepr
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  • dimreepr changed the title to Are Vegan's, a help or a hindrance to, our future?
23 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

"Are Vegan's, a help or a hindrance to, our future?"
Vegans may well be less of a problem than people who misuse apostrophes.

:-)

Now now, don't be greengrocerist.....😊

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Vegans are so few and powerless that they have no discernible effect on "our" future - if by 'us' you mean humanity at large. 

If the majority of people on Earth stopped eating flesh, the stress we put on the environment would be reduced, and possibly our level of aggression toward one another, as well, but I wouldn't count on that. Besides, we have other methods of destroying the planet as well as ourselves, and those decision are made in board- and conference rooms, not in the kitchen.

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14 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Vegans are so few and powerless

Powerless ? How so ?
They have the power to eat what they choose, just like the rest of us.
Or do you mean 'powerless' to dictate to the rest of us what we choose to eat ?

17 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

If the majority of people on Earth stopped eating flesh, the stress we put on the environment would be reduced, and possibly our level of aggression toward one another, as well

What about the stress on the environment those uneaten cows, pigs, chickens and fish would cause ?
Should we 'tell' all the other carnivores on the planet that they will help the environment by eating grass and leaves ?

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There are grazing lands that are ill suited for cropping, are ecosystems that benefit from a grazing ungulate, where small herds will probably remain justifiable.  Culling would yield meat as a luxury item.  The present situation, where croplands that could feed people or are better off fallowed are cultivated to grow livestock feed to maintain enormous herds and daily meat consumption by 90-95% of the population, is not sustainable.   And the harsh confinement conditions of animals raise big ethical issues.  (I eat oysters, which lack a central nervous system, for B12, which plants do not reliably provide.  I can't tolerate soy, so tempeh is not an option for B12.  Also eat sardines, which have a low eco load, and are developmentally pretty close to unsentient.)

The biggest issue may prove to be water per gram of protein, however.  It takes a lot of water to produce meat, and we are already draining aquifers to keep pace.  And with red meat, there is the methane problem, especially at present herd sizes, and types of feed prevalent.  

Vat (heh) meat would solve many of these problems.  But the Great Plains of the US still need grazing herds, which are vital to that ecosystem.  The bison, in particular, is a perfect fit, and its hooves are especially good at breaking up and aerating the soil.  It would also make sense to restore wild boar populations in the Eastern woodlands, ecologically.  

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Well established science that grazing herds are beneficial to health and biodiversity of grassland ecologies.  TBH, I had no idea this was even slightly controversial.  I would Google "how grazing animals help grasslands," to get a rich sampling on this topic.  I cannot tell if you read my entire post, but I exampled an indigenous species to American grasslands in the last paragraph.  I did not mention how the bison recycles nutrients, grazes to prevent biodiversity-reducing overgrowths, mitigates wildfires, and other functions as well.  Carbon capture in naturally grazed (not overgrazed) grassland is also helped.  

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

They have the power to eat what they choose, just like the rest of us.
Or do you mean 'powerless' to dictate to the rest of us what we choose to eat ?

I mean 

Quote

that they have no discernible effect on "our" future - if by 'us' you mean humanity at large. 

 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

What about the stress on the environment those uneaten cows, pigs, chickens and fish would cause ?

I assume that if we didn't want to eat them we would stop breeding them. Even if the livestock that exists today were to be set free, they wouldn't have anywhere near the environmental impact that the meat producing, processing, packaging, refrigeration and transport industries have. As for the uncaught fish - what stress are they causing?

 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

Should we 'tell' all the other carnivores on the planet that they will help the environment by eating grass and leaves ?

  We don't need to: we've already eradicated many of them; many more will soon follow. The hangers-on, plus their feral ex-domestic cousins, would feast for a generation or two on the abandoned livestock and presumably restore the ecological balance that existed before 'we' messed it up. 

Edited by Peterkin
error and omission
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22 hours ago, Peterkin said:

I assume that if we didn't want to eat them we would stop breeding them. Even if the livestock that exists today were to be set free, they wouldn't have anywhere near the environmental impact that the meat producing, processing, packaging, refrigeration and transport industries have. As for the uncaught fish - what stress are they causing?

But vegan's include bees in their stark mind-set, what if we were to suddenly stop farming bee's?

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I don't think all vegans are opposed to using bees for pollination.  There are a range of vegans.  Some vegans in India call scallops and oysters "sea vegetables" because they lack a CNS, and allow them in the diet.  Some vegans eat honey, some don't.  A recent article mentioned vegans who will move to eating eggs if they are free range and certified cruelty free.   There's lots of carving out exceptions among vegans, when they can see an ethical path to it.

Realistically, humans are probably not giving up apples, melons, almonds, berries, and other foods that require bee pollination.  Unless CCD (colony collapse disorder) wipes out too many of them, and even then there are alternative artificial methods.  

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22 hours ago, Peterkin said:

We don't need to: we've already eradicated many of them; many more will soon follow.

The most populous species on the planet are insects, and a lsrge number of them are 'carnivores', subsisting on blood and innards of other species.
Some of them even have 'herds' , like the 'farmer' ants with their aphid herds.
( you might wanna tell them aphid farming is bad for the environment )

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7 minutes ago, TheVat said:

I don't think all vegans are opposed to using bees for pollination.  There are a range of vegans.

That might be true, but the philosophy is absolute (don't eat honey); hence my question...

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Well, extreme vegans are probably one percent or less of the population, so I don't see them having the power to halt the use of bees for pollination.  Plus there's the absurdity of them making plant farming more difficult, when plants are what they depend on.  Plus there's the fact that using bees for what they are naturally meant to do, pollination, means their chances of survival are actually enhanced if farmers are paying apiarists to keep and manage healthy bee colonies.  

As I said, most vegans I'm familiar with don't take the hardcore philosophy and are willing to carve out exceptions.   

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

But vegan's include bees in their stark mind-set, what if we were to suddenly stop farming bee's?

What if we did? They got along on their own for 80 million years in their present form; I think they'd do just fine, even if we an our poison chemicals disappeared. Besides, you can keep bees without taking their honey and wax and transport the hives to wherever an orchard or field needs pollinating, or you can let them live wild and pollinate whatever they choose.

 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

The most populous species on the planet are insects, and a lsrge number of them are 'carnivores', subsisting on blood and innards of other species.
Some of them even have 'herds' , like the 'farmer' ants with their aphid herds.

That's been going on for millions of years, too. And they maintained balance in their ecosystem. They will have to again, once the nuclear winter leaves the field open for  new dominant species.

1 hour ago, MigL said:

you might wanna tell them aphid farming is bad for the environment )

It isn't.

Quote

As predators, ants are important in biological pest control efforts as their prey includes a range of insect species [15, 16]. Based on their foraging habits, the predatory ants can be classified as specialists or generalists [19]. Most of the species are scavengers where they prey on smaller organisms, as well as insect eggs.

https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/61673

How does any of this affect the devastation of human food production methods?   

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

But would we? Which is the point of the thread

Do you mean : Would 'we' do fine without bees? Maybe. Still assuming that 'we' refers to the human species as a whole, Would we do better without vegans? No better, no worse: they have no significant effect. Would we do better without eating and exploiting other species? All other things being equal, yes. Would we do better if we replaced our present insanely wasteful practices with rational, sustainable food production? Of course.

I thought the question posed in the thread was are vegans harmful or helpful to species survival. My answer was an continues to be: Neither.

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Have replied twice here, seems like the points I tried to offer aren't really penetrating, so moving on.   

If the forum heading changed vegan to vegetarian, I think the answer would be yes, beneficial.  Countries like India, where 31% of population is vegetarian, it definitely makes a difference in the footprint.  And countries like Germany and UK, where vegetarian population is growing rapidly (10 and 14%, respectively), the impact is growing.  Germany also has 42 million who describe as part-time vegetarian.  Similar growth is happening in many parts of the world, especially in younger cohorts.   

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19 minutes ago, TheVat said:

And countries like Germany and UK, where vegetarian population is growing rapidly (10 and 14%, respectively), the impact is growing.

Thanks! I didn't know that.

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On 1/1/2022 at 1:54 PM, dimreepr said:

I wasn't sure where to place this question, to get the best answer's, so I thought I'd keep it light for now.

Quote

Are Vegan's, a help or a hindrance to, our future?

 

Tomatoes.

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27 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Exactly 🤣 +1

Thank you.

That actually was a reference to a TV programme I saw about industrialised methods of growing tomatoes (and other veg), where they actually wish to exclude all creatures, other than human.

So it was a reference to a Vegan world without any other creatures whatsoever.

Edited by studiot
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In the sense that extremists imposing their will on everyone else - veganism would be a hindrance. But I think true of pretty much every kind of extreme ideology that is uncompromising.

The best outcomes look to be in the compromises - the reduced meat eating for health, supply chains that are more environmentally sustainable, minimising animal suffering . I haven't been impressed enough to want to learn more - I rarely eat meat because I don't like it much and I don't like cruel animal husbandry but I eat eggs and milk products regularly. I don't think food proscriptions work - and I am personally familiar with a common human failing; knowing better but doing it anyway.

8 hours ago, studiot said:

That actually was a reference to a TV programme I saw about industrialised methods of growing tomatoes (and other veg), where they actually wish to exclude all creatures, other than human.

So it was a reference to a Vegan world without any other creatures whatsoever.

I don't know much about the practicalities of proposed Vegan food production and have tended to be tolerant of Vegan activism that exposes cruel farming practices and promotes eating plant based diets, without any in-depth understanding of their deeper beliefs and aims. Studiot makes a good point that it isn't possible to grow food naturally and exclude animal life.

I am more familiar with Permaculture ideas, that use animals and incorporates them systematically. I once heard a then unknown Bill Mollison speak about incorporating chickens into gardening systems around the time the first Permaculture books were published; the final tally of potential useful functions was impressive, as were the practical means of designing gardens, pens and runs to support those uses. It all seemed very practical - a synthesis of existing ideas being the principle "out of the box" idea. He didn't strike me as unthinking and uncompromising (although there are now Permaculture extremists too) and use of the products of science and industry were not rejected - their use was minimised but not excluded.

I agree with Peterkin that Vegans are not a major influence; even the promoting of plant based foods doesn't depend on them.

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