Livestock aren't natural in the first place. A pig would presumably rather live for a few years with room to move, enough food to eat, and be killed quickly, than be tortured for years and subjected to needless cruelty. I would even go so far to say that an animal would prefer the former to not existing at all. If everyone stopped eating meat tomorrow, most domesticated animals would not happily roam the grassy plains, they would slowly freeze, starve to death, or be eaten. They aren't equipped to live on their own. Furthermore, humans gain from eating meat, which is a point that shouldn't be dismissed automatically.
12/19/2013 - 1:11am
If you are someone who is opposed to "Killing a sentient being", then you are probably also anti-abortion, correct? Preborn human infants are equally "sentient" (having the power of perception by the senses) as any animal. You likely also oppose the death penalty in all cases, am I right?
12/31/2012 - 2:20pm
I just came in from moving the cows to the next paddock, their mooing communicating their desire for fresh grass. You bring up many good points, particularly about animals enriching soil for other crops, and you are right, we can't call rotational grazing "natural" but hopefully more humane as well as "smarter". Smarter because even if a cow eating grass emits more methane, certainly you omit the costs of tilling a corn field, fossil fuels, transport and the obvious fact that a cow is not meant to live on corn. Their digestive system works best with grass.
What I find frustrating about reading an article like yours is that you are writing from an ivory tower, instead of coming from the specifics of experience. This 100 acre farm in central New York has not been tended to in half a century! Right here in the Finger Lakes. So even if there is a theoretical limit to how much meat, vegetables or tofu could be raised in our country, we are nowhere near that limit. Land sits idle all around me. In my lifelong love of farming I have made mistakes, at times I've caused harm to the earth, but there is no substitute for striving to always do better, instead of sitting around paralyzing myself into inaction.