Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

Is total global vegetarianism a realistic idea?

Asked by mazingerz88 (18343 points ) August 6th, 2012

I listened to a female guest in NPR explain well and defend her position about not raising and preparing animals for human consumption. That people are consuming live sentient creatures and that we are better off, health wise, eating plant products.

She indicated that it is not only about the manner of ending an animal’s life, whether it’s humane or not but also about the animal’s life per se, growing up in line for future slaughter.

She mentioned about mother cows, helpless and suffering as their offspring gets taken away so they could produce more milk which is artificially induced. Listening to all the other sad animal stories told, I started thinking about buying tofu tonight.

But here’s the question, is global vegetarianism a realistic scenario-? Could human beings produce plant based food enough to sustain everybody without looking at a cow and thinking juicy medium rare steak-?

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30 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

No. And that’s coming from a vegetarian. People are too entrenched in their IMO barbaric worldviews…

thorninmud's avatar

“Realistic” as in “likely to happen”? Certainly not. “Realistic” as in would it work? Certainly not without problems, but then the status quo isn’t sustainable either.

The problem certainly wouldn’t be one of producing enough non-animal food for everybody. Animals grown for meat (especially cows) are just about the most inefficient way imaginable to get protein to humans. Enormous amounts of arable land and water are devoted to livestock that could be used way more efficiently to grow food crops.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No. We need animals to use some of the land that won’t grow vegtables. Ever look at a hillside pasture. At it’s best it’s going to be grass. It’s never going to grow vegtables. Forget the grain fed stuff, more and more producers are not opting for that option. Plus sheep and goats are other animals that can yield lots of protein from marginal land.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@thornimud so why do you think it would not / could not work?

@Adirondackwannabe the grass could be used as biomass, so your argument is unsatisfactory. Besides can’t we grow apple trees for instance? Trees can grow on hills, right? ;-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@fremen_warrior You want to live on a diet of apples? Plus they have limited climate requirements. And I don’t eat biomass.

thorninmud's avatar

Worldwide, 80% of agricultural land is used for livestock production. Only 8% is used to grow crops directly for human consumption. We don’t need to worry about using every possible scrap of land. In fact, if livestock were out of the picture, much of the pasture land that is currently used for grazing could be reforested (livestock contribute 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions; planting new forests would reverse some of that damage). And there would still be way more food than we’d need for a long time to come.

Sunny2's avatar

Too many parts of the world do not support plant growth sufficiently to feed their populations. They rely on meat products, which feed off the rough grasses that do grow in limited growing climates. You’d have to produce more arable land and reliable water sources to make it feasible for everyone to eat only from a vegetarian menu. And I think you’d have to get permission to make such drastic changes in God’s great plan.

thorninmud's avatar

@fremen_warrior The problem would be one of distribution—getting balanced food to nomadic peoples that currently rely on their herds. That would be pretty damned hard. But then, that’s a tiny portion of the world’s population.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Global population control is much more realistic and gets to the root of the problem.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I can’t even imagine a major U.S. city participating.
Maybe in a communist world yes.

SpideySense's avatar

Not yet… But if humans could one day live like plants and get energy from the sun, water, soil and air, then the problem disappears.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@SpideySense right, convince people to give up bacon. I dare you ;-)

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s unrealistic to expect without massive force. However, given the way we knuckle under to more and more force every year, maybe not so unrealistic.

Some of the responses here put me in mind of Eisenhower’s famous quote about farming: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

jerv's avatar

Humans are not the only animals that are omnivores; many other species also require energy-dense diets. Have you ever wondered why herbivores spend nearly every waking moment feeding? And note how much energy they devote to “hunting” food as well.

Now, there are many vegetarian dishes that I like. I am rather fond of much Indian food and the many things that can be done with tofu, but the fact remains that humans have sharp teach and fair hunting instincts for a reason; we are predators. Not to the extent that sharks or tigers are, but we are designed to consume at least some meat.

BTW, how are we so sure plants are not also sentient? I mean, it took us centuries to admit that non-Caucasians are sentient humans as opposed to lower primates, so whose to say that harvest time isn’t mass murder?

_Whitetigress's avatar

I agree with @jerv the subject is well, extremely subjective.
There’d have to be that massive force. Maybe like some major meat is murder conscious effort. It’s hard enough to convince a group of at least 10 people to convert, the masses, wow.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I just want to pop in and say that humans are SUPPOSED to eat meat. For proof look at your canine teeth. Only meat eaters have those. An herbavore won’t have them.

JLeslie's avatar

No. Some parts of the world probably need to supplement their diets with meat.

You could argue getting rid of the practice of “producing” animals, including inseminating females, keeping animals fenced in and raised specifically to kill them, maybe might be a goal. But, I think people in parts of the world would still kill an animal in the wild every so often for food and clothing.

cookieman's avatar

So waitaminute, waitAminute… No bacon?

JLeslie's avatar

@cprevite I know. Some people down here where I live won’t be able to eat green beans if there isn’t any bacon.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@cprevite No bacon. If god gave something to mankind after Jesus (other than Snickers bars). It would be bacon. LONG LIVE BACON

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie & @Mr_Paradox: Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’d be a bacon-fueled revolt if there was a world-wide vegetarianism movement.

JLeslie's avatar

@cprevite I had a friend who became vegetarian, and the last meat he gave up was bacon. That was his cheat meat every few months. Usually on a vacation, or breakfast out once in a blue moon,

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: Lol. I’m not surprised. My vegetarian (former vegan) friend call bacon “the Gateway Meat” as it entices many a vegetarian — or, more to the point, children vegetarians attempt to raise as vegetarians.

JLeslie's avatar

@cprevite My dad bought his own pan when he was a teenager and cooked up bacon in his mother’s kosher kitchen. Oy.

Silence04's avatar

Even vegan/vegetarians can’t resist meat… They ended up making imitation meat! Lol

cookieman's avatar

True. There’s tofu-bacon, veggie burgers, veggie crumbles. The Morning Star company has a line of popular frozen items dedicated to just that.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Silence04 that is a very simplistic view of things. If I eat soy sausages for instance is because they taste good not because they remind me of meat. That’s actually the one thing I don’t like about them. These products are probably designed for people who just switched to not eating meat and need time to adjust to only seeing veggies on their plate or sth.

mazingerz88's avatar

I had vegetarian chicken BBQ once and its look, texture, chewiness and taste were so close to the real thing that I couldn’t tell the difference.

Silence04's avatar

@fremen_warrior it was more or less a joke. However, all of fake meat i’ve tried tastes like frozen/thawed tofu with bad seasoning.

with that being said, total global vegetarianism is nearly impossible this day in age. It would be a huge step backwards in terms of capitalism and our current lifestyles.

http://res.mindbodygreen.com/img/ftr/products-made-cattle.jpg

Shinimegami's avatar

IIE mean NO at Japan, humans are omnivores not herbivores, need eat both meat and vegetables have proper nutrition. Is not realistic of any way try make humans practice improper diet. PeTA tell many absurd lies, have poor reasoning, appeal at emotions. Is natural lions eat antelopes, humans eat cows and chickens, is foolish try deny nature and claim nature is immoral.

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