Animal Farming Is An Efficient Use Of Land

The human population of this planet is now approaching six billion and, even if every country on Earth enforced a strict and effective birth-control policy today, it is estimated that the total population will climb to fifteen billion before stabilizing.

The Earth’s total land area is 179,941,270 square kilometers (69,479,518 square miles). A little simple mathematics tells us that at present, on average, one square kilometer has to support just over thirty-three people. If all of it were cultivated, that would certainly be possible.

The argument fails, however, because not all of it is available for arable cultivation. The main environmental factors that determine plant development and distribution are climate and soil type.

We can discount the whole of the unproductive continent of Antarctica, so that reduces the total by 13,335,740 square kilometers immediately. We can also discount, at least as far as arable farming is concerned, all other ice-covered areas, tundra, mountains, deserts, heath and moor land, areas covered by rivers, salt marshes and lakes, cities, roads, and railways; and to a large extent semi-deserts, savannah, rain forest, low-lying meadow land and areas liable to regular flooding. We have now discounted most of the Earth’s surface.

In fact, only eleven percent of the land surface is farmed.

Almost all of the land we have just discounted does support grass or other plant life that we cannot utilize directly. We need a system that converts that grass into a form of food that we can eat.

And we have one: much of the land we have discounted for arable use can be, and is, used for the raising of food animals. Take New Zealand, for example. Here we have a country of 269,000 square kilometers - larger than Great Britain - with a human population of 3 million, a sheep population of 42 million and many cattle.

When I was in New Zealand for three months in Spring 1999, I didn’t see one field of grain. It wasn’t surprising: as the ground is rarely flat and the volcanic rock on which New Zealand is built is very close to the surface, that country is quite unsuitable for the cultivation of grain. And the same applies to many other parts of the world.

At Present One-Third Of The World’s Population Is Starving.

If we all became vegetarians, we would have no use for, and would stop farming, all the land that will support only food animals. But taking all the land that supports food animals, but cannot support arable farming, out of production is hardly likely to ease the problem.

In many areas where animals are farmed, they are the only things that can be farmed. In these areas, therefore, animal farming is the most efficient use of the land.

The vegetarian may argue that land that is not cultivable at present can be made so, but it is an argument that has already been shown to be false. The situation with respect to land use is not static.

As the population has increased this century, so the amount of land available for cultivation has decreased. Where deforestation has taken place to make way for cultivation, soils have been exposed to higher precipitation and temperatures (4).

These processes deplete the soil’s organic matter; the soils harden and turn to desert. In 1882, desert or wasteland covered an estimated 9.4 percent of the Earth’s surface. By 1952 that area had increased to nearly twenty-five percent. It is a growing trend and one which, once it has happened, is very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

In many areas with naturally low productive capability, irrigation is used to increase agricultural productivity. But irrigation carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. Semi-arid soils are characteristically salty.

The irrigation water, from essentially the same area, is also usually saline. Without adequate drainage, the irrigation water seeps into the soil and raises the water table. This brings the underlying water nearer the surface where it evaporates more freely, leaving behind the salty chemicals.

In time, the salts of sodium, magnesium and calcium clog the pores in the soil and leave a whitish bloom on the surface. This process not only destroys the soil structure so that yields fall, it leads eventually to a level of salinity where no plant can grow. Kovda estimates that between sixty and eighty percent of all irrigated land, that is millions of acres, is being transformed into deserts in this way.

Most of the world’s surface is not covered by land, but by the oceans and seas. At present, millions of tons of fish are caught or farmed each year. As well as not eating meat, many vegetarians don’t eat fish. If vegetarianism really caught on and everybody on the planet stopped eating fish, the two-thirds of the population who are not starving at present would soon join the third that are.

The British Situation

The prosperous, well-fed United Kingdom has a total land area of some 88,736 square miles (229,827 sq km) and a population of 57,537,000 (1991 Census). Arable and orchard farming occupy thirty percent while permanent meadow and pasture, which support food animals, covers fifty percent of the total area. But all of that is woefully insufficient - we still have to import one-third of the food that we need.

The UK’s major livestock production is sheep, which are reared in almost every part of the kingdom. If we all became vegetarians, the mountains of Wales and Scotland would become largely unproductive, as would the moorlands of central and northern England. We would not eat the 720,000 tons of fish caught each year - over 12.7kg (28 lbs) per head.

If we all became vegetarians, how much more food would we have to import? and where would it come from?

The USA and Canada, who are net exporters of grain, might seem to be the answer to the latter question, although our food import bill - already £6 billion per annum - would rise alarmingly. If they too became vegetarian, however, they too would need to import.

No: if we all became vegetarians, make no mistake, we would starve.

It takes 8 to 12 pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible beef in a feedlot.

Half of U.S. farm acreage is used to produce feed crops for livestock. A meat-centered diet requires about seventeen times the land area per person than would be required for a purely vegetarian diet.

What is 50% of unarrable area in comparison to 17 times more land used for meat production.

Its 1700% vs 50% - FatalError your theory sucks.

Besides this, animal agriculture also requires tremendous inputs of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, irrigation water, and fuel, commodities which are becoming scarce worldwide.

Didnt Actually read all of FatalErrors post but AndyBa isnt right.
Animal agriculture does not demand any great amounts of pesticide.
In sweden we almost never use any sort of pesticide on grass, and some on grain, but we instead uses many more pesticide treatment on vegetabils like potatoes and lettuce for example.
Those sort of crops are also very water demandng with grass or grain isnt.
The irrigation is the samt however there are more moments of soild treatment with a human food crop then a animal feed crop.

And i some areas animal agriculture is the only sustanible way.
In Australia maybe also parts of america and large parts of africa there are big stations in places that i near to describe as desert. There is just poor with vegetation and growing crops is a waste of time and useless. However Brahman cows (indian cows) and goats can eat this poor vegetation. Here the only thing to get any food from this land is through animal. However there will be big land area to a few cows.

ya, but here in america we dont even feed our cows just grain, we feed them the remains of the dead who couldnt make it to killing. You know cause being a cannibal is so cool we force our ‘food’ to do it. Sounds good dosent it!
We also dont waste much space on ‘farms’ for meat food because they are kept jam packed into ‘barns’ and pens till they are up for killing.They give them that much space because they are nice. THis is why you shouldnt eat meat. if there was a smiley face that puked I would insert it here.

Well i cant anserw for how things are in the states. Never been there.
But as you describe it, it really sounds terrible.
However i know that feeding cows with dead cows isnt a great idea.
It´s even illegal in a great number of countries. Some reasons for that is because that could spread Mad cow desies or Crüzefeldt Jacobs Sickness/diesies. And cows isnt omnivors. They dont eat meat.

Yes, it doesn’t demand, but people often use it, especially when they are not controlled by anybody.

If it is so difficult to raise good food in Sweden you could import it. There are new EU member (I don’t remember for sure: Slovakia or Slovenia) which intended to enter EU markets with organic food, so you’ll export to them Volvo cars and Erickson phones, they will export to you organic food :wink:

And why we need to damage those areas with agriculture, if those areas are already almost deserted?

I would not be so categorical about this.

Yes and huge environmental disaster. Goats are known to desert entire islands. Even here in Moldova in the places were goats graze all lower branches of trees are eaten out.

Sure no crops are in any demand of any pesticide herbicide or fungicide.
But it grows alot better if used correct. But that is not the ponit.
Grass is in lesser need for chemicals if compared to crops like potatoes tomatoes and lettuce. Grainplants is often treated with chemicals but still not in those amounts that is required for a high production of vegetabils like again potatoes etc.
SO animal farming does NOT require tremendous inputs of chemical fertilizer and pesticides as Andy Ba wrote.

Beside if you take a look at water testing protocols were they find chemicla subjects that can be traced to farming use, and compare in with herbicides they were used you will see that those herbicide is for human consumtion vegetabils. This is no hard thing to do even if it sounds like it.

Volvo, Ericsson or IKEA has nothing to do with this subject.

Must be a missunderstanding, What i meant with Sustanable way was that this kind of agriculture was the only way in this area to get food and not destroying anything in the that enviroment. So the nature could stay as it was.
Not deserted, Desert = sand camels sahara

Oh no i do not categor this. Agriculture is very diffrent around the world therefor you cannot say that this thing is generally bad or generally good.
Climat is diffrent, diffrent crops, and diffrent way of production.
This however was one kind of agriculture were vegetabilie growth for human purpose is impossible.

No no huge enviromental disasters in my example. On the contrary.

Oh Moldovia. That is quit diffrent compared to those places of australia that I was writing about.
Now i might be going a bit off topic but is this only a bad thing that goats are eating all the lower branches ?
And isnt it the landowner how will allow the goats to graze on his/her own land. Is it really a big problem with the grazing goats, then dont allow the goat owner to let his goats graze on that land.

My grandmother was able to raise potatoes without any chemicals, and I helped her when I was at summer time in the village.

It doesn’t require, but people use those chemicals.

Sorry, I forgot about pop music :wink:
But if seriously, it’s on the subject: it shows that Sweden have powerful economic, which means higher ability for ethical decisions.
You’re not like Chukchi or Eskimo who wouldn’t survive on vegan diet if left alone in their usual habitat.

Although there are such places, Chuchki and Eskimo habitat for example, but in most places on the Earth rising vegetables is much more ecologically friendly, especially when modern agricultural methods are involved.

Not - a lot of land is used by people to raise food for winter period to feed their animals.

Unfortunately goats and cows graze most of the time on public land, not on somebody’s property. And it’s very bad for ecology when woods and meadows are used only for farmed animals.

I see that i didnt express my self clear enough.

There is no need or requirement for using chemicals to grow vegetabiles or care of a livestock.

However chemical use is the most effecient way to grow crops.

If i choose to use chemicals when growing crops so that i will increase the growth of the crop but not the weed.
I will use much more on vegetabils like potatoes tomatoes and vegetabilies for human consumtion.
I will use much less if any on grass and grain for feeding animal.

If you still do not agree with me. Why is grass and grain for animals so much more in need of pesticides then crops for human consumtion ?

Yes sweden has assets to make a ethical choice. My choice is to eat meat. I think that is the right way. I understand that you dont agree and accept that fact. Shall we talk more about ethics here ?

Not ? Not what ? What do you mean ? Is agriculture in australia and moldavia alike ? I really doesnt belive that. Australia got no winter they got rain period.

So you have goats and cows walking around in public parks and areas ?
I cant anserw for how it looks like in moldovia as you must understand.

However, it is no big ecology problem that animals graze in woods. Animals has always done that. And often there are still wild animals that graze in the woods. this dosnt have to mean that it is a ecology disaster.
It´s sound a bit strange to only use woods for animals. An open piece of land would be better wouldnt it ?

To feed one person with animal products, you need much more space than too feed with vegan products.

If you lived in wood, without damaging ecology, then I would have no problem with you eating meat. But I think that meat based diet is worse for ecology than vegan diet. And I’m afraid that I also will be affected by negative ecological impacts.

Please open new thread if you have any questions on ethics.

Not, not alike, but as I said in example with Eskimo, the exceptions when you can rise animals in conditions when it is not rentable rise plants doesn’t reverse the fact that in most of the world plants are more ecologically friendly.

Here is one link from US: … ailarticle
So you can see that grazing is at least questionable from ecology point of view.

Switching subject are we ? Do you have anything to add about chemicals are much more used on human consumtion crops than animal consumtion crops ?

Yes i have seen those scientific result. There are some projects about this in swedish that i have read. Translated to english. … ud2001.pdf.
However 1. Many if not all Human Consumtion Crops require that you do not grow the same crop on the same place year after year. potatoes is 7 years i think and pies? (small round green things) up to 14 years. This will affect the amount of space needed. I mean one year you might just need 1000 sq m however next year you will need again 1000 sq meters but not the same 1000 sq meters as last year.
However 2. From human cropping there will always be left overs. Why not give this to animals ?
However 3. There are alot of land at least in sweden, that is impossible to grow any crops on a optimal base. This land can only be used for grazing animals. This land would be useless in people only eats vegetabilies.
I got some more however´s but ill save them for later

I´m convinced that meat eating in general wont lead to negative ecological impacts. Eating vegetarian food might have negative ecological impacts. And there is little if any scientific results on what a vegetarian diet would do to the environment

Thats done

Its right that Australia antarkis and Moldavia isnt alike. But I see no truth in your statement that a vegetarian diet would be more ecologically friendly. Please tell me Why its more enviroment friendly in different parts of the world. For example in Europe Australia and Antarkis (eskimo´s)

I see no evidence in that article that grazing animals is bad for the ecology. This is an article about a debate about the grazing animals. Nothing else. Do you really believe everything you read in the newspaper?

Sure to many animals on the same spot is not a good thing. But i didnt se how much space the one owner in the beginning had to his 150 head livestock.

The one thing that i read at the buttom of the page.

Wich almost made me laugh. This is true, but its no disaster.
Why is it that the livestock is compacting the soil, but the many other species that lives on that land does not compacts the soil. And how about a city. Doesnt a city compacts the soil ?

Dr. David Pimentel, award-winning and highly respected professor of agriculture and environmental studies goes into great detail in the classic text by him and a number of his colleagues…“Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment, Conservation & Health”.

He writes that while it may not be practical for all under all circumstances, the vegan diet is the most conservative of energy and land, least polluting, best for human health, and of course, does not require the confinement and slaughter of billions of non-human animals annually.

I agree with Andy Ba. Too much arable land is being wasted on growing crops for feeding all the livestock that overpopulate the world today. In the US alone, all the cattle raised on factory farms are being fattened up by being fed feed made from cow corn.

“Cow corn” is a colloquial term for types of corn which are grown for feeding livestock. It’s ubiquitous in most rural areas all across America. Today, the seeds that farmers use to plant this corn are more often than not of a variety that has been genetically modified.

These crops require chemical treatment. As a result, ground water gets contaminated. The contaminated ground water will eventually seep into our precious lakes and rivers. The anhydrous ammonia that is used for fertilizer dries up the earth which causes high rates of erosion, and it also saps the soil of its fertility. Monsanto’s “Roundup” is used as well. This chemical was designed to be an herbicide, but it also kills countless bees and other pollinators.

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