Since we artifically inseminate most, if not all, farm animals it would not take long for stocks to fall. Also, it is not necessary to release them into the wild.
I think we would all be kinder, and would believe it's not right to expend life in order to pursue our own pleasures, either to eat or to obtain resources available through less destructive means than war.
If we changed our methods for sourcing food and fuel then I'm sure that Earth would be able to support a larger population.
An interesting line of discussion - thanks for posting it. I guess my initial response would be to double check that "over-population" by current standards would mean over-population if everyone were to miraculously turn vegan overnight. Since I don't follow the eugenics threads I sincerely don't know if they judge it on space, food availability, impact on the environment, poverty levels, access to clean water. Presumably these parameters would drastically alter if the meat-producing industries were usurped by fields of plant crops.
I guess I would also equate "living longer" with "growing wiser" to the point where elders' impact on communities might alter birth rates ... or not.
It's a great discussion to have with your friend. I'd steer him/her away from the "overnight" timeline for change though, unless you're having a good playful discussion. And I'm not so sure animal sterilisation would be necessary as limited feed resources initially (if left to pasture) would diminish the reproductive cycle in many of the animals we currently "farm" ... those that could physically reproduce, I mean. Belgian blue cattle can't through sheer bulk of their muscle bulk (narrowed birth canal/low sperm viability). Other animals have been bred for meat not necessarily reproductive ability when artificial means can cover this (no pun intended) and cost less. Sadly for them this question is moot but that's kind of why we're here in this forum, right?
Would there be factories built or re-purposed current ones? Perhaps there'd be a surplus? It would be interesting to calculate how many of the factories we have now are there because of the meat, egg and dairy industry, directly and indirectly. I'm thinking this list would be massive and not necessarily replaced by those supportive of a plant-based lifestyle (think woollen clothing, food products with meat/dairy, farm equipment for animals, fishing industry and canning shut down, no abbatoirs)... whoa, the list goes on. In short I think people wouldn't be driving to/building factories as your friend questions.
All told, it would be a gradual transition with time for communities and people to adjust... rather like what is happening now, although many would like to speed the process up dramatically.
The excessive amount of land preserved for animal agricultural use could be re-purposed for plant agriculture, which uses less than a third of what animal agriculture needs to yield the same amount, and therefore the remaining land could be used to rehabilitate the planet and living space both. Animal agriculture currently accounts for one third of the planets total ice-free land.
Is the fact that people who would have died had they not swapped bacon and steak for hummus and carrot sticks are now still around, driving cars, traveling on planes, building factories etc etc outweighed by the lack of cows wandering around?
Sick humans are a drain on resources we barely have. They strain our health services, they input less productivity into our economies, and they also affect the life expectancy of others around them. We need health services for traumas and a plethora of non-diet related purposes. But what if we were to rid ourselves of ALL emergency services? The logic here is 'don't help a person's health because the world is overpopulated'. OK, well then let's mothball the fire brigades, the police, the hospitals and all the homeless shelters and every charitable thing we can do to help ourselves. Whilst we're at it, let's give everyone a gun... that'd drive down the population! In other words, there's no logic here at all. Let's tell everyone that smoking isn't bad for them after all... I mean, really?
Not only do we now have electric cars, we have vegan cars as announced recently by Tesla and I believe this trend will continue. There are so many interesting plans to remodel great transport infrastructures such as rail networks built with superconductors and motorways with built-in chargers within the roads so that points and gas stations will be eliminated.
Agricultural cows produce 150 BILLION tons of methane EVERY DAY. Methane is 21 TIMES worse at trapping heat than CO2, so it really is driving global warming with alarming force. These animals require 2-5 acres of land on which to be raised per cow, whereas a human only requires one acre per head to support all the food they need. The total population of cows also drinks 45 BILLION gallons of water and eats 135 BILLION lbs of food EVERY DAY. These resources could be redirected - like 'cutting out the middle man' - if the world were to eliminate cows from their diet.
Cowspiracy: 'A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people'.
Also what happens to all the farm animals when the whole world is vegan? Do we have a mass cull? An enormous world wide BBQ? Or do we let them live out their natural lifespan? If we do that then we would have to sterilise about 99% of them otherwise we will be overrun by pigs, cows, sheep etc which, in countries such as the UK, have no real predators.
These questions have been addressed over and over by environmentalists and vegans both. The general consensus is, yes, we'd have one last hurrah and - as your friend put it - the world could enjoy a final barbecue. Vegans might be shocked at the idea but, environmentally, it's the best thing to do. I have done alot of research on this issue and have to inform others that halting AI (artificial insemination) practices would simply not be enough given the current state of affairs - though, of course, it will be wonderful to have no AI. Moreover, even Gary Yourofsky is on-board with this idea. We could then raise these animals as pets or find functional purposes for them, such as oxen-power etc.. or a limited population could be 'rewild'. Some could be sheltered by animal rescue centres, yes, but there will still need to be a great feast in order to do what is best for the planet. We simply do not have the resources to allow them all to live out a natural life span, apart from fish in the fisheries which could all be easily rehabilitated into the oceans, so long as the balance of biodiversity was considered (for instance, lobsters are often considered a nuisance in great quantity).
Not saying that the world wouldn't be a better place if everyone was vegan/vegetarian, these were just some points that they could have gone into more detail about.''
These 'points' HAVE all been addressed, over and over. Instead of reading one article and getting superior and snarky, your friend is welcome to delve right in and do their own research. It's good to know what we don't know rather than to think we know it all already.