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Veg*n Crop Farming and Animal Deaths

Susan9608

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In another thread, someone raised an issue regarding the farming of grain crops. I don't remember who it was that actually brought up the topic or how exactly it was phrased, but I believe it was something along the lines of a vegetarian diet results in the death of many small animals due to crop farming.

I looked at the links provided to me on this topic, thought about the issue, and consulted a number of pro-vegetarian/animal rights groups about this topic. Here's what I have to say about it -

Vegetarianism and the reliance on grain that it involves do not actually account for a great percentage of animal deaths caused by mechanized harvesting. The fact is that humans’ consumption of meat is responsible for the vast majority of animals killed when humans harvest grain. Currently, more than half our domestic grain is fed to farmed animals. Far less grain would feed many more humans than the meat that it now goes to produce--cows must consume 16 pounds of vegetation in order to convert them into 1 pound of flesh.

If we did not raise so many animals for human consumption, then we would need far less crops, which would, in turn, decrease the number of small animals killed as a result of crop farming.

I don't condone the killing of any animal for human benefit; however, in an imperfect world, there often exists no truly *good* choice ... only a choice between a terrible wrong and a lesser wrong. I choose the lesser wrong in favor of a greater good ... and if being a vegetarian depsite the fact that small animals are killed in the process of crop farming makes me a hypocrite, then so be it.
 

Baby Bears

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My family are farmers. We farm various grains, corn and soybeans. I've had a million people ask me about the little animals that must get killed by the tractors and combines in the fields. Truth is, in my husbands 20 years of farming (and my father-in-law longer than that) we have NEVER seen a dead animal in the field or any sort of evidence of them in the combines, rakes, plows, etc. When walking through the fields to check for worms etc. (checking by hand is still the best way to do it), I have never run across an animals nest. On RARE occasions, you see small animals run from the fields when harvesting, but believe me, they are not stupid and they get out of the way in plenty of time. I wouldn't be too concerned about animal deaths due to farming.
 

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It was me that brought this issue up. First of all, I'd like to say that I have no problem with vegetarianism-if you don't want to eat meat, then that's fine by me. What does bother me is the attitude displayed by certain members of the vegetarian community who say they chose their lifestyle because they can't bear the suffering of animals, and then won't acknowledge the facts.

Here is a link that pretty much sums up how I feel at times-once you've read the article, click the link at the end that says 'Read what PETA has to say about this article'. Be warned-the articles contain bad language are very definately anti-vegetarian:

https://maddox.xmission.com/grill.html

Just so we're clear, I picked these articles because the arguments and points put forward are (in my opinion) sound-not because I wish to cause offence.
 

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The one source is extremely vague. The other 'more scientific' source was already refuted and rebutted. I find the article you've linked to highly insulting and vulgar. And the way you phrased your post, you make it sound like the PETA article is offensive, when it's the article you are using to support your position makes Rush Limbaugh sound like a saint.

You cannot live in our modern world without causing some death and trauma to the environment, other people, and animals. Let's let a little common sense prevail. We may not like it, and some or many may choose to do whatever they can to mitigate it. However, you most certainly can live in our world without actively and consciously participating in wholesale torture and abuse of other living creatures.
 

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What does bother me is the attitude displayed by certain members of the vegetarian community who say they chose their lifestyle because they can't bear the suffering of animals, and then won't acknowledge the facts.


Here are just a few facts I'll acknowledge.

"The two worst things people do to the planet in their daily lives (according to the Union of Concerned Scientists): Drive vehicles that get poor gas mileage and eat beef." ("Groupís Surprising Beef with Meat Industry: Study ranks production of beef, poultry and pork as second to automobiles in ecological cost," San Francisco Chronicle, Apr 27, 1999; See also Brower, Michael, and Leon, Warren, The Consumerís Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Three Rivers Press/Crown Publishers, New York, 1999) [02.07.27:15]


"American feed (for livestock) takes so much energy to grow that it might as well be a petroleum byproduct." (Worldwatch Institute) ("The Price of Beef," WorldWatch, July/Aug 1994, pg 39) [02.07.27:11]

"Calories of fossil fuel expended to produce 1 calorie of protein from soybeans: 2" ( Pimentel, David and Marcia, Food, Energy and Society, 1979, pg 59; And Pimentel, et. al., "Energy and Land Constraints in Food Protein Production,î Science, Nov 21, 1975; cited in Lappe', Frances Moore, Diet For A Small Planet, 20th anniversary edition, Ballantine books, New York, 1991, pg 74-75) [02.07.27:12]

"Calories of fossil fuel expended to produce 1 calorie of protein from beef: 78" (Pimentel, David and Marcia, Food, Energy and Society, 1979, pg 59; And Pimentel, et. al., "Energy and Land Constraints in Food Protein Production," Science, Nov 21, 1975; cited in Lappe', Frances Moore, Diet For A Small Planet, 20th anniversary edition, Ballantine books, New York, 1991, pg 74-75) [02.07.27:13]

"The worldwide number of animals killed for food in 2000 was 45 billion, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. This included 306 million cattle, buffalo, and calves, 1.2 billion pigs, 795 million sheep and goats, and nearly 43 billion chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. The figures exclude some small countries and 'non-slaughter' deaths, which are generally not reported." (extrapolation of data published by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) by FARM: (broken link removed) For report pdf: https://www.wfad.org/RESOURCES/NRAnVictims2x.pdf) [002.10.01.5]

"In more personal terms, during a 75-year lifetime, a typical U.S. resident is responsible for the suffering and death of 11 cows, 32 pigs and sheep, 85 turkeys, 2,570 chickens and ducks, and un-counted numbers of fish and other aquatic animals." (extrapolation of data published by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) by FARM: (broken link removed) For report pdf: https://www.wfad.org/RESOURCES/NRAnVictims2x.pdf) [02.10.01.06]

"Amount of world's fish catch fed to livestock: Half" (Holt, S., "The Food Resources of the Ocean," Scientific American, No. 221, pg. 178-94, 1969) [02.09.20.05]

"Amount of fish consumed by U.S. livestock: More than eaten by the entire human population of all the countries of Western Europe combined." (Borgstrum, Georgee, The Hungry Planet, Collier Books, 1967, pg. 311) [02.09.20.06]

WATER

"The conclusion of a 2000 report by the World Commission on Water predicts that the increase in water use in the future due to rising population numbers will 'impose intolerable stesses on the environment, leading not only to a loss of biodiversity (species extinction), but also to a vicious circle in which the stresses on the ecosystem (will) no longer provide the services for plants and people." ("A Water Secure World: Vision for Water, Life, and the Environment," Reproted in Mittelstaedt, Martin, "World Water Use to Soar to Crisis Levels, Study Says," The Globe and Mail, March 14, 2000) [02.10.01.01]

"Water required to produce one pound of U.S. beef, according to the national Cattlemens' Beef Association: 441 gallons" ("Myths and Facts About Beef Production: Water Use," National Cattlemen's Beef Association) [02.10.01.02]

"Water required to produce one pound of U.S.beef: 2,500 gallons" (per Dr. George Borgstrom, Chairman of Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, "Impacts on Demand for and Quality of land and Water," Presentation to the 1981 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) [02.10.01.03]

"Water required to produce 1 pound of California beef: 2,464 gallons" ("Water Inputs in California Food Production," Water Education Foundation, Sacramento, CA ) [02.10.01.04]

"Water required to produce one pound (lb.) of California foods:
  • 1 lb. lettuce: 23 gallons
  • 1 lb. tomatoes: 24 gallons
  • 1 lb. wheat: 25 gallons
  • 1 lb. carrots: 33 gallons
  • 1 lb. apples: 49 gallons
  • 1 lb. chicken: 815 gallons
  • 1 lb. pork: 1,630 gallons
  • 1 lb. beef: 5,214 gallons
(according to Soil and Water specialists, Univ. of Calif. Agricultural Extension, working with livestock farm advisors: Schulbach, Herb , et. al., in Soil and Water, No. 38, Fall 1978) [02.10.01.05]

"In California, the single biggest consumer of water is not Los Angeles. It is not the oil and chemicals or defense industries. Nor is it the fields of grapes and tomatoes. It is irrigated pasture: grass grown in a near-desert climate for cows... The West's water crisis --- and many of its environmental problems as well --- can be summed up, implausible as this may seem, in a single word: livestock." ("Cadillac Desert", by Marc Reisner) [02.10.01.06]

"Nearly half the water consumed in this country is used for livestock, mostly cattle." (Audubon Magazine, Dec. 1999) [02.10.01.07]

"Irrigation to grow food for livestock, including hay, corn, sorghum, and pasture, uses 50 out of every 100 gallons of water consumed in the United States." (Frances Moore Lappe, Diet for a Small Planet, 20th Anniversary Edition, Ballantine Books, New York, 1991, pg. 76) [02.10.01.08]

"Only within the last half-century have we acquired the ability to use powerful diesel and electric pums to empty aquifer in a matter of decades... Around the world, as more water is diverted to raising (cattle), pigs and chickens, instead of producing crops for direct consumption, millions of wells are going dry. India, china, North Africa, and the United States are all running freshwater deficits, pumping more from their aquifers than rain can replenish." (Ayres, Ed, "will We Still Eat Meat? Maybe not, if we wake up to what the mass production of animal flesh is doing to our health, and the planet's," Time, Nov. 8, 1999) [02.10.01.09]

"The amount of water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a (Naval) destroyer." ("The Browning of America," Newsweek, Feb. 22, 1981, pg. 26) [02.10.01.10]

"In 1999, University of Wyoming law professor, Debra Donahue, who holds a masterís degree in wildlife biology, wrote a book in which she said the most important thing that could be done to protect species from extinction and preserve biodiversity is to remove livestock from nearly all public lands. In response, Wyoming Senate president and cattleman Jim Twiford proposed a bill that would dismantle the university law school." (Wilkinson, Todd, "In a Battle over Cattle, both sides await grazing ruling," Christian Science Monitor, May 1, 2000) [02.07.27:20]

"Leading cause of species in the tropical rainforests being threatened or eliminated: Livestock Grazing." ("Livestock and Environment," Agriculture 21, Agriculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) [02.07.27:21]

"Leading cause of species in the United States being threatened or eliminated (according to the U.S. Congress General Accounting Office): Livestock Grazing." (Wuerthner, George, "The Price is Wrong," Sierra, Sept/Oct 1990, pg 40-41. Also, Bogo, Jennifer, "Where's The Beef?" E Magazine, Nov/Dec 1999, pg 49) [02.07.27:22]

(broken link removed)
 
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Smudger

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CavySpirit said:
The one source is extremely vague. The other 'more scientific' source was already refuted and rebutted.
By whom? Not being aggressive, just curious.

CavySpirit said:
I find the article you've linked to highly insulting and vulgar.
Sorry about that, but it was the information presented that I considered important, not the manner in which it was put across (which, to be fair, I did warn you about).


CavySpirit said:
And the way you phrased your post, you make it sound like the PETA article is offensive, when it's the article you are using to support your position makes Rush Limbaugh sound like a saint.
It wasn't my intention. I obviously wasn't clear enough, but the only reason I even mentioned PETA was that it was mentioned in the link to the second article-it is the two pieces by Maddox that I was refering to as being offensive.

CavySpirit said:
You cannot live in our modern world without causing some death and trauma to the environment, other people, and animals. Let's let a little common sense prevail. We may not like it, and some or many may choose to do whatever they can to mitigate it. However, you most certainly can live in our world without actively and consciously participating in wholesale torture and abuse of other living creatures.
Like growing your own crops so that you aren't "actively and consciously participating in wholesale torture and abuse of other living creatures"? Or is this, as pointed out in the Maddox articles, a case of limiting the suffering so long as it doesn't inconvenience your lifestyle?
 

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Like growing your own crops so that you aren't "actively and consciously participating in wholesale torture and abuse of other living creatures"?

You seem to be implying that large-scale agriculture is actively and consciously participating in wholesales torture and abuse of other living creatures. Do you understand the meaning of the words torture and abuse? It doesn't sound like it to me.

I already pointed out the rebuttal in the other thread from whence this one was born. I'll go back and get it later (can't do much posting and surfing at the moment).
 

Smudger

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CavySpirit said:
You seem to be implying that large-scale agriculture is actively and consciously participating in wholesales torture and abuse of other living creatures. Do you understand the meaning of the words torture and abuse? It doesn't sound like it to me.
I understand the meanings of both words, thankyou. Amongst the definitions of torture we have 'excruciating physical or mental pain/something causing severe pain and anguish', and for abuse we have 'to hurt or injure by maltreatment'.

Unless I'm mistaken, and being shredded in the blades of a combine harvester is actually quite pleasant.

I find it impossible to believe that grain harvesting companies have no idea that animals die as a result of their methods, so yes they are actively and consciously participating in the torture and abuse of living creatures.
 

mncavylover

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Smudger, I do see where you are coming from. However, what do you suggest we do about this problem? I'm open to any and all ideas, so please feel free to respond. Thanks!
 

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mncavylover said:
Smudger, I do see where you are coming from. However, what do you suggest we do about this problem? I'm open to any and all ideas, so please feel free to respond. Thanks!
Hi mncavylover :)

I'm not here to tell anyone what to do, nor am I here to get on anyone's case in particular-this is my response to something that sophiemuffins said in another topic about being vegetarian, and therefore not having to feel guilty during mealtimes because her diet didn't cause the deaths of any animals.

My point in addressing this was two-fold:

First, to show her that this wasn't the case so she and others could make up their own minds as to whether they wanted to do anything about it-seeing as many peoples reasoning for going veggie is because they can't stand the suffering of animals, I thought they might appreciate knowing this so they could further their efforts to stop this suffering, or at least to not be a part of it.

The second was to show why we meat eaters become so angry when vegetarians call us 'murderers' and the like.

As for 'what do we do about this problem?'-well, as I said I'm not here to tell people what to do. It's up to the individual to determine their level of commitment in limiting animal suffering, so if someone wants to grow their own vegetables as a way of doing so, then great. I'm not going to be all over the vegetarians on this forum if they don't, because it's not my business-all I ask is that if you're going to equate my meat-eating diet with murder and suffering, please do the same with your own.

Again, not directed at any one person in particular.
 

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I read the link posted above, https://maddox.xmission.com/grill.html, and found it interesting that the author only had once source to back up his article. I find it more interesting that this article is one of the same sources referenced in the original thread that this topic came up in. Is there a shortage of sources to support this position? I would like to see some actual facts on how many animals are actually killed as a result of crop farming.

I find this interesting because there are countless studies, articles, research projects, etc. supporting a vegetarian diet, and pretty much refuting this argument as a valid reason to continue eating meat.

I find it amusing that the author, Maddox, was eventually reduced to bringing up the human population problem ... a tactic that seems popular with pro-breeders and anti-vegetarians.

Again, I have to say that I think the benefits to humans, animals, and the environment out weigh the consequences. Is it wrong that small animals get killed as a result of crop farming? Of course it is. But is the solution to avoid eating grain and corn and focus on eating meat instead? Of course not - because animals used for food consume *more* grain than people do. 50% of domestic grain goes to feed "food animals." So ... by eating those animals raised for food, you contribute not only to the torture and abuse of those animals, but you also contribute to the deaths of the animals killed during crop farming ... it's like killing two birds with one stone, if you'll pardon the expression.

I'm sure it's very unpleasant to be crushed and shredded. I don't think anyone is claiming that that is a pleasant and humane death ... and I'm sure no one will argue that the death of these animals is in any way inconsequential. However, a distinct difference comes to mind when I compare the small animals killed in the crop farming process and the animals raised for food ... animals raised for food spend their *entire* lives in misery, in an environment totally devoid of anything resembling a natural life, confined to overcrowded cages, eating unnatural things, subjected to a stressful and cruel slaughter at the end ...

But the small animals killed during crop farming live out in their natural world, unconfined, eating and living naturally, until the end. I don't think that in any way justifies their death or makes it okay, but it does make it inherently different from the torture of animals raised for food.

I would wholly support an effort to improve the safety of crop farming in regards to the small animals. However, I still feel not eating meat is the moral choice, for all the reasons I've outlined.
 

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I'll say it again: this came about as a result of a vegetarian on these forums holding the belief that their diet was a bloodless one, and I simply pointed out that that wasn't the case.

It has nothing to do with whether diet 'A' is better than diet 'B', nor have I at any point tried to say that we should avoid eating grain and focus on a meat based diet. My point was to illustrate that a vegetarian diet does involve the deaths of animals, so that people could make an informed decision as to whether they want to take their commitment to minimalising animal suffering that bit further, and regardless of whether they do or not to at least acknowledge animal deaths as being part of a vegetarian diet.

As for why Maddox only had the two sources at the end of his article? You'd have to ask him. I'd assume he just decided to go with the ones that contained what he needed to back up his article-not a lot of point putting in multiple links to different sites that all basically say the same thing. But that's just speculation on my part.
 

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I understand the meanings of both words, thankyou. Amongst the definitions of torture we have 'excruciating physical or mental pain/something causing severe pain and anguish', and for abuse we have 'to hurt or injure by maltreatment'.

There is a HUGE difference between an accidental death via machinery and a LIFE OF TORTURE and ABUSE.

By your measure of what's right and wrong, a vegetarian can't drive a car and accidentally hit an animal without being called on the carpet for being a vegetarian. A vegetarian must be anti-growth (urban and suburban planning). A vegetarian cannot use pesticides in any way. And on and on... To me, by associating whatever field animal deaths there really are (yet to see any real scientific data) with the brutal and horrible lives and deaths of the animals on your plate, you so discount their pain and suffering and lives that I am honestly aghast at the notion.

I'll say it again: this came about as a result of a vegetarian on these forums holding the belief that their diet was a bloodless one, and I simply pointed out that that wasn't the case.

As evidenced by the facts above, I think you only managed to point out that eating meat not only contributes to the obvious horrors of animal factory farming, it contributes to the need for large-scale agriculture. By choosing a vegetarian lifestyle, you do IN FACT, REDUCE not only the demand for factory-farmed animals, you reduce the demand for agri-business. You SAVE the lives of those field animals, you do not contribute to their deaths.

In general, urban living is not bloodless. But you can make a difference.
 

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I whole-heartedly agree with everything you said, CavySpirit. :)
 

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CavySpirit said:
There is a HUGE difference between an accidental death via machinery and a LIFE OF TORTURE and ABUSE.
But if you know that animals will be killed by your machinery, then it's no longer accidental death. An accident is an unforseen event.

CavySpirit said:
By your measure of what's right and wrong, a vegetarian can't drive a car and accidentally hit an animal without being called on the carpet for being a vegetarian.
No, because that is an accident-an unforseen event-you being out driving and having an animal run in front of your car is beyond your control-taking destructive machinery into their enviroments knowing there will be deaths is completely different.


CavySpirit said:
A vegetarian must be anti-growth (urban and suburban planning). A vegetarian cannot use pesticides in any way. And on and on... To me, by associating whatever field animal deaths there really are (yet to see any real scientific data) with the brutal and horrible lives and deaths of the animals on your plate, you so discount their pain and suffering and lives that I am honestly aghast at the notion.
I'm not discounting anything. I'm well aware of the suffering of animals raised for food, and I wouldn't even try to argue with you on that. However, it's not the point of this discussion. The point (or at least the point I've been trying to make) is that a vegetarian diet is not a bloodless one. Like I've already said-I'm not here to pass judgement on anyone-I'm just here because I thought it relevant to address someone's misconception about their diet. I could in turn say that I am 'aghast' that you seem to think the deaths of field animals shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as those of livestock raised for food, simply because they do not number as many, or that the perceived suffering isn't as great.

CavySpirit said:
I'll say it again: this came about as a result of a vegetarian on these forums holding the belief that their diet was a bloodless one, and I simply pointed out that that wasn't the case.

As evidenced by the facts above, I think you only managed to point out that eating meat not only contributes to the obvious horrors of animal factory farming, it contributes to the need for large-scale agriculture. By choosing a vegetarian lifestyle, you do IN FACT, REDUCE not only the demand for factory-farmed animals, you reduce the demand for agri-business. You SAVE the lives of those field animals, you do not contribute to their deaths.
Again, this isn't (in my mind) a discussion about which diet is kinder. It was about addressing a misconception. But on the above subject, even if we were all to go vegetarian over night, would the problem of small animals being killed during harvesting suddenly dissapear? Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle may reduce the suffering, but it doesn't eliminate it, and if we were all vegetarian, then it would only be the vegetarian diet that would be responsible for the deaths of field animals.

CavySpirit said:
In general, urban living is not bloodless. But you can make a difference.
Very true, it just depends how deeply your convictions run that will determine how much of a difference you make.
 

CavySpirit

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But if you know that animals will be killed by your machinery, then it's no longer accidental death. An accident is an unforseen event.

I totally disagree with your attempt to manipulate semantics. At some point in my life, probably an animal WILL BE KILLED by my car. Therefore I KNOW it will happen. I do not intend or forsee killing any animals when I get in my car. Neither does the farmer INTEND or FORSEE killing any animals when it gets on top of it's tractor or combine. See the experience statement below. It's an ACCIDENT.

And if you want, go ahead and change my words from accidental to SUDDEN. My point is TORTURE and ABUSE.

I've had a million people ask me about the little animals that must get killed by the tractors and combines in the fields. Truth is, in my husbands 20 years of farming (and my father-in-law longer than that) we have NEVER seen a dead animal in the field or any sort of evidence of them in the combines, rakes, plows, etc. When walking through the fields to check for worms etc. (checking by hand is still the best way to do it), I have never run across an animals nest. On RARE occasions, you see small animals run from the fields when harvesting, but believe me, they are not stupid and they get out of the way in plenty of time. I wouldn't be too concerned about animal deaths due to farming.

No, because that is an accident-an unforseen event-you being out driving and having an animal run in front of your car is beyond your control-taking destructive machinery into their enviroments knowing there will be deaths is completely different.

See the statement above.

someone's misconception about their diet.

To that I say, 'bull.'

First of all, your sources are extremely suspect. You have no real clue about the number of animals.

even if we were all to go vegetarian over night, would the problem of small animals being killed during harvesting suddenly dissapear

If you want to reposition your statement about urban living, fine. Your argument correlates to the same argument breeders use about the extinction of guinea pigs. In my opinion, it's not worth the effort to even type it. It's hypothetical, theoretical and will not happen. If we ever get to the point of everyone being vegetarian, then odds are very high that by that time, the whole nature of our food supply will have changed anyway and the face of agribusiness will likely have changed dramatically.
 

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Regarding field animals, here's my opinion on the problem: It's not so much a killing of small animals during harvesting or maintenance. It's ripping out their ecosystems to start with. It's an urban growth issue.

Behind my house is a drainage canal (creek kind of thing) leading to the San Francisco Bay. Birds, racoons, rats, and various flavors of wildlife live there. They recently ripped the whole thing out to put a road back there with some bull**** excuse of an emergency exit during an earthquake. Many, many little animals lost their home. It happens every day with every new road, new freeway, new house, new building, new fence, new everything.

It's not that we are killing them with agribusiness, we are removing their environment totally. One less burger eaten, some square footage of land saved--or something like that. That's a fact TODAY. Not some hypothetical, never-going to happen-tomorrow.
 

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Amen to that. :)
 

Smudger

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CavySpirit said:
But if you know that animals will be killed by your machinery, then it's no longer accidental death. An accident is an unforseen event.

I totally disagree with your attempt to manipulate semantics. At some point in my life, probably an animal WILL BE KILLED by my car. Therefore I KNOW it will happen. I do not intend or forsee killing any animals when I get in my car. Neither does the farmer INTEND or FORSEE killing any animals when it gets on top of it's tractor or combine. See the experience statement below. It's an ACCIDENT.
Actually, you don't know that you'll one day kill an animal with your car. You may be prepared for the possibility that it could happen, but that is no guarantee that it will. It's like playing the lottery-you can buy a ticket every week for the rest of your life-just because you do so doesn't guarantee you'll win. As for the farmer not intending or forseeing the deaths of animals via his combine, I don't agree. The farmer may not want to be responsible for their deaths, but he or she knows on some level that driving a machine fronted by huge spinning blades through a field that contains wildlife will result in deaths-they accept this as being an innevitable part of the harvesting process, and carry on. It does not however make the deaths accidental.

CavySpirit said:
And if you want, go ahead and change my words from accidental to SUDDEN. My point is TORTURE and ABUSE.
I won't be changing anything, thanks.

CavySpirit said:
I've had a million people ask me about the little animals that must get killed by the tractors and combines in the fields. Truth is, in my husbands 20 years of farming (and my father-in-law longer than that) we have NEVER seen a dead animal in the field or any sort of evidence of them in the combines, rakes, plows, etc. When walking through the fields to check for worms etc. (checking by hand is still the best way to do it), I have never run across an animals nest. On RARE occasions, you see small animals run from the fields when harvesting, but believe me, they are not stupid and they get out of the way in plenty of time. I wouldn't be too concerned about animal deaths due to farming.

No, because that is an accident-an unforseen event-you being out driving and having an animal run in front of your car is beyond your control-taking destructive machinery into their enviroments knowing there will be deaths is completely different.

See the statement above.


someone's misconception about their diet.

To that I say, 'bull.'

First of all, your sources are extremely suspect. You have no real clue about the number of animals.
Right. So my sources are 'extremely suspect', yet the above example about 'I've never seen an animal killed during harvesting' comes from a vegetarian, completely supports your argument and therefore is accepted without question. Funny that. Ok, but I've lived in the same place for 28 years. As kids me and my friends used to play in the fields behind our houses, and we saw plenty of dead animals. Mainly rabbits and mice, but what was surprising were the amounts, and how in a lot of cases you couldn't recognise an animal, merely that what you were looking at had once been part of an animal. And you're right-I have 'no real clue' about the amount of animals killed during grain harvesting, but then again, neither do you.

The fact is that animals do die during harvesting, and if you want to gloss over that then fine. Oh, and if 'they are not stupid and get out of the way in plenty of time', how do you explain the various animals that you see smeared over roads? Those animals have the benefit of being able to see traffic coming from both directions-they aren't disorientated by hearing the noise of the combines yet being surrounded by wheat that blocks their view to disorientate them further-yet these animals still manage to get killed by cars, when they have a better opportunity to assess the direction from which the danger is aproaching. Also, if (let's say rabbits here) rabbits in a field easily avoid something as large as a combine that they can't see approaching, then surely it would be easier for them to avoid a car (which is a lot smaller than a combine), especially when they can more easily see them approaching? What about that animals, like humans, are prone to being frozen to the spot with fear at times? What about the fact that depending on the size of the field, there can be more than one combine at a time in operation-what if the animal(s) run clear of one, straight into one of the others? But none of that is relevant is it?

CavySpirit said:
even if we were all to go vegetarian over night, would the problem of small animals being killed during harvesting suddenly dissapear

If you want to reposition your statement about urban living, fine. Your argument correlates to the same argument breeders use about the extinction of guinea pigs. In my opinion, it's not worth the effort to even type it. It's hypothetical, theoretical and will not happen. If we ever get to the point of everyone being vegetarian, then odds are very high that by that time, the whole nature of our food supply will have changed anyway and the face of agribusiness will likely have changed dramatically.
I'm not repositioning anything, thanks. My position still stands, and remains what it has always been-that due to the fact that small animals die as a result of grain harvesting, a vegetarian diet is not a bloodless one. I don't expect you or anyone else to do anything about this, and would not judge you either way. What I can't understand is how you can deny the plainly obvious, especially as you seem to care a great deal about animals-I would have thought that you would welcome the possibility that some vegetarians may decide to take their dedication to the well-being of animals that much further after reading all this.
 

Smudger

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Cavy Slave
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CavySpirit said:
Regarding field animals, here's my opinion on the problem: It's not so much a killing of small animals during harvesting or maintenance. It's ripping out their ecosystems to start with. It's an urban growth issue.

Behind my house is a drainage canal (creek kind of thing) leading to the San Francisco Bay. Birds, racoons, rats, and various flavors of wildlife live there. They recently ripped the whole thing out to put a road back there with some bull**** excuse of an emergency exit during an earthquake. Many, many little animals lost their home. It happens every day with every new road, new freeway, new house, new building, new fence, new everything.

It's not that we are killing them with agribusiness, we are removing their environment totally. One less burger eaten, some square footage of land saved--or something like that. That's a fact TODAY. Not some hypothetical, never-going to happen-tomorrow.
The original point of this topic was animals being killed during harvesting, and that's what I'm here to discuss. Talking about 'one less burger eaten...' still doesn't solve the problem of animlas being shredded by farm equipment, and there-in lies the only thing I've been trying to communicate-that a vegetarian diet is not a bloodless one.

I'll try and clear a few things up here, because I feel that you're taking what I say as a personal attack:

My intention was to illustrate that grain harvesting costs the lives of small animals, so therefore a veggie diet is not a bloodless one.

My position was not a judgemental one-it was me trying to provide information that I felt was relevant to the vegetarian diet.

I don't expect people to do everything they can to limit the suffering of animals-it's none of my business what you do or don't do. I was simply offering the info to those who may not have been aware of it, and who would benefit from knowing it. Basically, I'm not going to sit here going "You're all evil!" if you acknowledge that animals die during harvesting-I didn't set out to 'win' an argument, just to provide a fact to those that weren't aware.
 
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