Let us do a small thought experiment.
Let’s imagine that the meat and dairy industries are cancelled, that everyone is convinced of the vegan arguments. Which of the following scenarios is then more likely?
a) the fields where the pastures for cattle were are allowed to continue as pastures full of natural biodiversity, with cover for birds and butterflies and wild flowers of all sorts have their haven there, grazed by cattle who now live until they are 22 years old, and die natral deaths, unbothered by humans. The original aurochs gradually reappears because the races of cattle interbreed and these majestic buffalo like beasts are viewed in huge herds at a distance by our great grandchildren. Occasionally we grow a field of crops on a field naturally fertilised by their natural grazing activities.
b) since we cannot use the cattle we don’t keep them and cattle as well as other farm animals with the possible exception of ducks and geese are threatened with extinction. We use the pasture land which has no sense without animals on it for crops (food or energy) and since these are monocultures it stresses to extinction several species of bird, many plants and insects which only survived till now because we had pasture for meat and dairy industries. Organic farming has no sense as there are no animals to provide the dung, so we keep on using agrochemicals and reach peak phosphorus and peak potassium faster. There is then a massive famine during which two to three billions simply starve to death, and a further several million from diseases aggravated by malnutrition, or food wars.
I you answered A, I may say you’re a dreamer, and by far and away not the only one. And that, for now, is a very big problem.
Certainly Bible prophecy shows a vegan or at least vegetarian heaven – Jesus ate fish after the resurrection so probably that is still going to take place – but we are not equipped for that now any more than we can run and not be weary, or walk through locked doors, or fly up into the sky by our own mere volition. These things go hand in hand and we need to wait for them, if we are looking for them as believing Christians.
For now the task is to use the animals but to treat them as well as we can, to increase the standard of care for each species, to take te reforms made in this direction over the last 25 years as a good start, and build on them.
We are also going to have to address the population issue, as there is not any answer to the issue of agriculture and the limit on yields other than the control of population.
The “solution” of taking animals out is not a solution when they are on land not classed as arable. We cannot eat wild grasses or scrub. A goat eats the scrub, we milk the goat. That’s how we do it.
The nineteenth century was all about obtaining more and more farmed land. In the twentieth century we had to slow that process right down as a limit was reached on how much forest we can take and still have a future.
The twentieth century was all about mechanisation, innovation, agrochemicals, management methods, new varities like Borlaug’s dwarf wheat or cattle with hyperplasia.
Welcome to the C21st, where we are now relatively out of ideas, out of somewhere to go to keep food production ahead of the curve in population. So the only thing left to do is to work on the popuation. And with that comes a lot of Government intervention, probably very unwelcome Government intervention.
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