14

A relevant point is that raising animals for food requires feeding them plants. Since only around 10% of the energy input (the percentage used for growth) at one trophic level of a food chain can be passed onto the next, it is more efficient to have a shorter food chain. In practice, this means that, generally speaking, you need a lot more crops to feed to ...


13

This question really made me curious. Where I live (Romania, developing country within Eastern Europe), it's the same: soy milk is (much) more expensive than cow's milk. The price difference has many causes. To name a few: subsidies from the government organic farming is usually done on a smaller scale, leading to a smaller volume of obtained food ...


12

I won't talk about "product quality" since it will probably highly vary from one place to another. That being said, price is probably a leading factor. Most animals that are bred for leather, meat, etc... live far shorter than their natural lifespan. The cost of feeding and caring for the animal over time is factored into the cost of animal products. As ...


12

Yes, plant foods pollinated by bees and other animals are suitable for vegans. After this subject was recently discussed on the BBC comedy television quiz show `QI' many news media producers started to raise alarm that almonds and avocados are not vegan because... Vegans eschew not only products made from animals, such as bacon and leather, but also ...


11

Down is almost always collected from a live bird or from a bird killed for meat. There are 3 main ways: Live plucking, which you seem to already know about. The feathers are plucked from the live birds. This is done multiple times, until the bird is either slaughtered for meat or dies from the process of plucking. Post mortem collection, where the feathers ...


10

Like most livestock, wool sheep are tail-docked, castrated, and have their ears clipped. Sheep are also selectively bred to favor the ones with the most skin-folds/highest wool production, which leads to unhappy sheep covered in much more wool than would be normal in the wild, and exacerbates the flystrike problem that necessitates mulesing, which is not ...


10

There are probably not commercial farms that sell cruelty-free eggs as described by you, but it's likely that there are many individuals who keep a few chickens as pets and do not kill them after their egg production slows. For commercial farms, it's not commercially viable. Some back of the envelope math says farms would have to charge something like 4 ...


10

This situation is unlikely to happen. If the meat industry is to be phased out, it is likely to occur gradually. Large scale management of freed/former farm animals could indeed present some problems. Consider though that many farmed animals would not be able to survive or reproduce without human help in their current conditions. Conceivably, former farm ...


7

The meat is less tasty. Notice how carnivore humans not only eat animals; they eat child animals. Lamb, veal, etc. The same is probably true for the quality of fur or leather. However, down can be produced entirely by harvesting naturally lost feathers And, of course, it's much cheaper to feed an animal for one year than for five years.


7

Highly Tailored, crop specific fertilisers will tend to have better results, and are obviously much more efficient, since one has absolute control on the "nutritional" growth factors if you will. I know that words like "man-made", "artificial", "synthetic","chemical" tend to carry a negative connotation around, due to the fact that they are usually synonym ...


7

If it's not wasps it's something else. The vast majority of large farms use various bugs to eat/control worse more damaging bugs, pollinate crops, process dirt, eat unwanted vegetation, etc. It really depends how far you want to take vegan. If you're not OK with a farmers releasing a bunch of bugs to control parasites or harmful bugs, you're ruling out ...


7

There are two sides to your question: economics, and ecological impact. As Zanna explained the latter very well, and my experience is with the former, I'll focus on that. As a political economist, I'd say deforestation isn't implemented specifically for either crop or husbandry, but rather for whatever is the most lucrative option in that particular time ...


7

According to sheep101.info, sheep have a natural life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Despite this, a sheep's wool production begins to decline after 7 years. Therefore, farmers can produce more wool by using resources to sustain young sheep than old sheep. Since wool is a commodity, its price is driven by supply and demand, so no individual farmer has ...


7

There's a lot to talk about here and I'm sorry for this long answer so, here's a TL;DR: Given what we know about veganism, biology, entomology, philosophy and agriculture, we shouldn't aim at eating insects to save rodents because that's inefficient and kills tremendous numbers of living beings that are very likely to be sentient and to feel pain. Veganism ...


6

Land used for grazing that was previously not used for commercial food production may be former rainforest, or hilltop regions (this may certainly not be an exhaustive list of the possibilities). At first sight these appear very different, but I believe they have common issues. Here I will only deal with hilltop areas in temperate zones as I have knowledge ...


6

Buying organic free range eggs does nothing for protecting the cockerels. This is for example critisied here (in german) by PETA. There are organizations, which do raise the cockerels for meat (e.g. haehnlein). I was yet unable to find a souce for eggs, which don't include any animal killing.


6

In nature, poultry get their B12 by pecking for insects and worms in the dirt. Since this behaviour is not possible on industrial farms, B12 is added to animal feed1. According to the USDA, one cooked egg (50g) contains 0.56µg of vitamin B122. The recommended daily intake of B12 for people age 14 and older who aren't pregnant or breastfeeding is 2.4µg3, ...


6

Many of the subsidies are based on rationales that may not really be relevant to how the industry is set up now such as lots of independent small farmers producing output independent of each other. Clearly, in the US, that's no longer the case. I think political inertia and the lack of a political base strongly advocating to eliminate them are why they still ...


6

There are no live animal tracking systems like what you describe. I tried looking for live video streams from farms and I was able to find one video feed from a farm sanctuary in NY but of course they don't sell animal products there. What about abattoirs/slaughterhouses? Although there are plans in the UK to outfit slaughterhouses with compulsory CCTV ...


6

Here's a more recent article from Smithsonian that agrees with the Slate one. From a working paper written by the Towson University Department of Economics: "Using a database of Peruvian household information that includes crop and consumption information, the economists were able to look at the relationship between rising quinoa prices and what Peruvian ...


5

This one is technical, and will probably come down to personal sensibilities. I will however try to explain my personal reasoning and several other ways to think of this question. To start with a more general reflection, before coming back to the case you mentioned, we can ask ourselves: Is a product an animal participated in producing without the said ...


5

In the most ethical dairy farm I could imagine while still having real cows and real farmers, but maybe not real economics, the dairy cows are harmed by having to give milk much longer than their calves need. They're milked four times a day. One might expect that they'd need to be herded into the barn each of those times, so that they can be milked, but the ...


4

Assuming that the study estimating the 15 animals killed per ha of harvested crop is this one, it must be noted that the study was widely criticized for these and other mistakes and I would not in any case take it at face value. To address the numbers mentioned in the question: Davis estimates that 15 wild animals per hectare per year are killed as a ...


3

There are two arguments against vegan consumption of wasp-pollinated figs: The generic vegan dislike of eating foods which have been produced with the assistance of animals. (Of course not all vegans will object to this, as there are many reasons for veganism.) The specific nature of (most varieties of) figs, which are pollinated by fig wasps who die inside ...


3

Veg*ns can respond in many ways, but I would respond as follows. "People are vegan or vegetarian for many different reasons and would probably disagree with each other on the solution to this difficult but rather small issue. At least the issue is small in comparison to the much larger problem of long-term large-scale meat consumption" I might then ...


3

I would say that, if we stopped keeping farm animals, the numbers of those animals would be reduced to effectively zero. This doesn't include farmed animals kept as pets (rabbits or guinea pigs) or feral animals whose ancestors were farm animals (feral horses or feral pigs); those would likely stay around current levels. Why? The land used to support ...


3

This is a false dichotomy. You can't raise (and breed) animals without growing plants to feed them. So it really boils down to which society is better for the environment: one which (1) purely grows crops for food or one which (2) grows crops for animal feed, this isn't an alternative, they're doing both. Clearly (by this logic), cultivating only crops (...


3

There are a lot of interesting questions you pose and some are addressed in the article Do carnivores need Vitamin B12 supplements?. Let's first look at the claim that vegetarianism must be unhealthy because they need to supplement B12. According to the excerpt below, it appears that both meat eaters and vegetarians are equally deficient in B12. The ...


3

If you only look at the body count: to have milk, there must be a calf. That animal won't get the food it needs (since we are taking the milk) and is slaughtered if it's a male (a female baby cow will become a dairy cow). The veal industry benefits greatly from the dairy industry. So even if your only requirement is no animal death, dairy products aren't ...


2

Eiderdown is collected from the eider nests. Eiders are a duck that live on northern European and American coasts. They line their nests with the soft feathers from the duck's breast. The original nest material is replaced with straw so the duck can continue to incubate the eggs, or the nest is collected after the ducklings have hatched. Eiderdown ...


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