Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Isn't Meat Eating Natural? Lions and tigers and bears do...

Isn't Meat Eating Natural? Lions and tigers and bears do it. They've been doing it for millenia, why shouldn't I eat meat, too?
In nature, there have never been 7 billion predators; predators must always have a lower population than their prey. In nature, the prey are made stronger, faster, and smarter through survival of the fittest. In nature, all the predators have not already been killed by humans.

In the modern day, humans have killed off most wild animals and fish everywhere; and replaced them with ranches, farms, fisheries, factories, fences, and highways. There isn't much of an ecosystem left anywhere, except tiny islands of protected wilderness areas.
There is nothing natural left about our meat factories, farming practices, or appetites. Small so-called "family" or "humane" farms should be praised for their efforts to get back to the old ways (of eating less meat). However, the old ways can only sustain the old population of below 1 billion people.
But isn't hunting natural and sustainable?

Today, Americans require more than 900 Million meals per day! If even a small fraction of these meals were provided by 'natural' hunting and fishing - all the hunting permits would sell out in minutes - and all wild animals everywhere would face a dire threat of extinction by the gun. Even before modern times, man has hunted many species to the brink of extinction, including bison, whales, turtles, and bluefin tuna.
What if everyone acted this way?
To reach sustainability, we must ask ourselves - what if everyone acted in this way? Truly, you would have to agree that we can't be killing 700 Billion animals per year (the average U.S. carnivore kills 100 animals/year). Fortunately, not everyone eats this way - we are currently raising and killing some 58 Billion animals per year worldwide, with about 17% (10 Billion) killed in the U.S., even though we make up only 4.5% of the Earth's human population. That means Americans eat over 3x more meat than the global average!
Oh come on, nothing we do is sustainable anyways!
Just look at our fossil fuel energy and transportation systems, or even our plant-based agriculture. OK fine, I hear you, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't TRY. Starting with our daily choices, eating vegetarian costs nothing extra and makes a huge difference in our kindness to animals, personal health, and ecosystem diversity, and reduces our footprints on energy, transportation, and environmental pollution.
Going (more) vegetarian, (more) local, and (more) organic, and growing (more of) your own food are all good things... most of which we can begin today for very little cost, which most people could afford and even save money on.

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