The Purpose and Necessity of Livestock Production

Response to the blog entry “The Purpose and Necessity of Livestock Production”:

Studies consistently show that we can produce calories more efficiently from plants directly, rather than through breeding and killing animals. The UN, the Worldwatch Institute, and other government and nonprofit organizations (not animal rights groups) are urging us to reduce our consumption of animal products. 

“Should I feel bad when I eat meat because an animal died to become that meat?”
You should feel bad that you needlessly killed an animal – probably when quite young.

“Why can’t animals be set free to live as long of a life as possible?”
They can. Wild animals are free. For domesticated animals, they live long lives and die of old age on sanctuaries.

In comparative studies such as EPIC-Oxford and the Loma Linda Study, vegans fare well. The official dietetic organizations on three continents state that vegan diets are healthy for all age groups. The Kaiser-Permanente insurance company advises their 20,000-plus member physicians to recommend plant-based diets to their patients. So no, animal products don’t provide essential nutrients. They do, however, provide saturated fats, trans fats, estrogens, concentrated pollutants such as mercury and dioxin, and hormones that are foreign to the human body. The high amounts of methionine, heme iron, and phosphorous in meat may also contribute to disease and aging. The largest clinical study in the world, sponsored by AARP and the National Institutes of Health, found a link between meat consumption and early death,

“Millions of Grassland Acres Would Go to Waste Without Livestock”
No they wouldn’t. In fact the opposite is true. Because producing plant-based calories is so much more efficient, we need less land compared to raising and killing animals to eat. As the country transitions to a more plant-centered diet – already underway – some of the land currently used for feedcrops and grazing can revert to wilderness – the most efficient use of land – giving wildlife a chance to rebound.

“Livestock Animals Roaming ‘Free’ Is Not Plausible”
Agreed. And factory farms are hellish and inevitable at current demand. So let’s stop the whole bloody, wasteful business.

“Livestock Products Give Purpose to the Lives of Livestock Animals”
No they don’t. They destroy them. Animals want to live, explore, make friends, raise their young, enjoy tasty food, and have fun. They’ve done that for eons without us “helping” them by castrating them without painkillers and mass-slaughtering them with bolt guns at a fraction of their lifespans. Animals also don’t want to be bred to grossly overproduce flesh, milk, or eggs. That’s not giving them purpose; that’s giving them pain, suffering, and death. Our purpose, on the other hand, is to be compassionate, respectful, and kind; to promote happiness and refrain from inflicting avoidable harm – and that means not eating animals if we don’t have to – and probably almost no one who will ever read this blog has to.

Author: Gary L. (farm sanctuary volunteer & rabbit rescuer)

The following text is from:

Livestock animals (Cattle, Horses, Chickens, Turkeys, Pigs, etc.) have been a huge part of human existence since the beginning of our civilization. Humans have used animals for meat, milk, eggs, labor, and clothing for thousands of years. But is it necessary to use livestock products? Must we kill innocent animals? Why can’t we just rely on fruits, veggies, and grains to feed and clothe the masses?

Livestock Infrastructure Produces Billions of Pounds of Food and Products

Meat, milk, eggs, and thousands of other food products come from animals. Animal products are found in a vast amount of foods consumed today. Furthermore, animal by-products are used extensively in almost every walk of life. While you may be able to avoid eating animal products, it is nearly impossible to avoid using animal by-products. The infrastructure of the livestock industry has allowed for thousands of products to be made affordably, efficiently, and sustainably.

Dairy Cow By-Products

Beef Cow By-Products

Pig By-Products

If we did away with livestock products, we would have to reinvent the infrastructure of our food supply and product supply, which would prove to be extremely costly. Thousands of farmers would have their current farming methods they have developed over centuries taken from them. Technology is what has allowed 1 farmer to feed 155 people today instead of 27 people in 1950. Livestock technology is a huge part of that. If we were to abandon it, we would see a drastic decrease in food production.

Livestock Food Products Provide Essential Nutrients (And taste amazing!)

While it is entirely possible to consume a diet free of livestock products, it can be quite difficult. Many people in this world do not have the extra money, time, or discipline to spend on avoiding products from animals. Meat, dairy and eggs contain essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium, B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6), vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium. Again, the infrastructure of livestock production has allowed for these products to be low in cost, easily accessed, and (best of all) some of the tastiest products available.

Millions of Grassland Acres Would Go to Waste Without Livestock

Millions of acres of land are not suitable for crop production (due to slope of terrain, soil type, rainfall, etc.) and are therefore grazed by livestock animals. These animals help maintain the ecosystem of these grass acres and convert the grass into food for humans. If we took those livestock animals away, the millions of acres of grassland would become unproductive instead of providing billions of pounds of food each year. If our goal is to feed 9 billion people by 2050, this would be a huge step backward in reaching that goal.

Livestock Animals Roaming “Free” Is Not Plausible

Currently there are over 11 billion birds, 87 million cattle, 67 million pigs, and 5 million sheep used in U.S. livestock production today. Farmers breed these animals, feed these animals, and protect these animals. They are domesticated. The high majority of livestock animals would cease to exist if they were not utilized on farms in livestock production. If livestock production ceased, the amount of these animals living in the U.S. would be cut down unbelievably. No one would be there to take care of these animals, no one would be maintaining fences, caring for the sick, protecting them from predators, etc. Animals would either die out, live in the wild, or live in a zoo. In the wild, livestock animals would no longer be producing food, products, and labor for humans, they would become road hazards and would get into yards, gardens, and public places. They would be a nuisance. The reason these domesticated animals have survived over the generations is because of their importance to humans (their purpose).

Livestock Products Give Purpose to the Lives of Livestock Animals

If we were to stop using animal products, the purpose for the lives of these livestock animals would be removed. Eating and using animal products is the reason livestock animals are alive in the first place, even though theoretically the process takes their lives away as well. If you believe an animal like a cow, pig, chicken, or sheep deserves to have life, you must believe in the use of animals for humans, because without us, 95% of these animals would never be born in the first place. The question, however, is whether or not the quality of life for these animals is worth them being born in the first place, which will be addressed in the subsequent “animal welfare” blogs found on the home page.

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