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DEBUNKED: Do vegans kill more animals through crop deaths?

January 25, 2023
Source Earthling Ed YouTube

Since you don’t care about animals who die in slaughterhouses, don’t pretend you care about the ones killed in crop harvesting, the majority of whom are killed for YOUR “meat” …

I know facts often challenge the ethical-deficient “carnivores” who enjoy animal death, but I came across another crop-harvesting-tu-quoque animal abuser recently (ironically on a petition message board protesting the abuse of a “pet pig” where I inspired the unhinged drama of an “animal lover” threatened by my vegan comment about how ALL pigs who suffer for humans deserve to NOT also, and why do people NOT understand the normalized violence of killing trillions of animals yearly, exploited for food, has violent “NOT normal” consequences on OTHER “worthy” animals? ) that I think it’s time to revisit the failed logic and mathematics of people desperate enough to shrilly scream (falsely) about the “poor sweet mice and bunnies who cannot run and instead die via harvesting for only vegans’ food…” while dismissing animals who are enslaved, violated, mutilated, and then violently butchered, exploited for “food”. If your wrath is in response to vegan consistency exposing the horrors ALL animals endure for humans, then your defense is strictly egotistic, vegans aren’t the ones who have self-serving motives, that’s YOU.

And for sure, nonvegans harvest crops, not vegans, so of course the cheapest, ie., most lethal, production methods are utilized; in a vegan world, crop deaths would be minimized or eliminated completely.

Anti/nonvegans always fail to also consider the mass animal deaths of those who are NOT violently butchered in slaughterhouses but who die in other areas of “anag production” such as those who – ahem – die in crop harvesting for crops, the vast majority of which are used to feed the animal victims nonvegans consume; those exploited for AI (see Boe’s tragic story); those who die during birth or infancy/due to disease and squalor/due to neglect/due to abuse; those who die to “protect” animals exploited for food (yup, the USDA kills upwards of one millions native animals yearly so the animals killed for food are protected from being killed for food by native animals); those who die via transport; those who die on feed lots; those who die in weather-related events; etc., etc., etc. (But let’s be honest here, ALL animals bred to be dead are inherently neglected and abused, as are the ones who won’t be consumed but who are violently killed for humans anyway.)

And to the antivegan haters who haunt vegan social media in efforts to convince the masses that flesh is necessary for “optimal health”, including the “concerned” public who desperately flaunt being a flexatarian/reducetarian/vegetarian/soilist-regenerationer, ie.,OMNIVORE; the fake doctors who joyfully dedicate threads to (attempts to) body shame vegans or who quote vegans in bizarrely irrelevant manners; the enraged “carnivores” so obsessed with vegans their every moment is desperately dedicated to co-opting vegan into “vegan carnivorism”; the “ex vegans” who were NEVER vegan but who enjoy the attention they so desperately seek and need lying about how they drank only juice for one week and then almost died and blame all vegans, past-present-and-future: imagine having to lie each and every day to yourself and others that flesh is necessary for health while also having ZERO concern about your absolutely UNHEALTHY BEHAVIOR. Seriously, that you cannot see it is bizarre and not-just-a-small-amount disturbing, it’s as if you’re insecure in your securely insulated, indoctrinated, abusive world of billions who also don’t care about animals. I mean, imagine leading such a seemingly insignificant but cruel existence, threatened by nonviolence, empathy, and justice, that your only joy comes from compulsively lying about vegans, spending literally gobs upon gobs upon gobs of time doing nothing but stalking vegan accounts.

So yes, do stay mad, bitter, and obsessed, pro animal killers, because you’re more concerned with only the pseudo appearance of caring to generate social approval and not the animals who violently suffer and die for you. My anger about the abuses and incalculable suffering inflicted on animals by all-privileged-humans, is legitimate, think cats and dogs and other “pets” and how enraged Americans get over their abuse, applied towards all animals. You antivegans, though? Your anger is for all the wrong reasons, directed towards people who minimize animal suffering because you are incapable of decency so instead feel compelled to flaw vegans and not the abuses you pile on innocents, especially considering nobody is forcing you to NOT abuse animals. What happened to you to make you this way? You boast about your cruelty as easily as people chitchat about the game or the weather around the water cooler. Seriously, get help, gtfu, or get a new hobby and leave the animals TF alone because your “love” and “caring” feel a lot like indifference, abuse, and suffering.

(And ANYONE who listens to an absolutely vile and repulsive human-waste like Ted Nugent speaks volumes about those who use him as a source for ANYTHING other than trash. Like, jfc.) SL

Source Surge

By Ed Winters

Ted Nugent, a man who said that the South African apartheid “isn’t that cut and dry” and that all men are not created equal, and who bragged about his relationships with underage girls, went on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2018 to talk about, of all things, morality. Specifically, how those who follow a vegan lifestyle are responsible for more animal deaths – through the harvesting of crops and use of fertilisers and pesticides – than people who choose to consume animals directly.

We do see this comment quite often and it’s about time we took a good look at the argument being made. Are animals killed in plant production? Yes, but it’s not just vegans eating plants, especially soy – of all the crops to choose. In fact, around 75 to 80 per cent of the soy that is produced is used as farmed animal feed and only 6 per cent is actually used for human consumption. Therefore, if you are upset about animals being killed in soy farming, then stop funding the industries that use three-quarters of all the soy that is grown.

Nugent is not the only one who has made this argument. Chris Kresser used the same argument a year later also on the Joe Rogan podcast in which he cited a research paper that stated that 7.3 billion animals were killed every year from plant agriculture if counting, as well as mouse deaths, birds killed by pesticides, fish killed by fertiliser run-off and lizards and amphibians killed by eating insects contaminated with toxic pesticides.

Firstly, more than 9.5 billion land animals are killed directly for food in the US each year and when you add marine animals that number becomes 55 billion, so more animals are still killed directly for meat, dairy and eggs than they are for crops. Secondly, according to data from the USDA, 77.3 million acres of land in the US are used to grow crops that humans eat directly, and 127.4 million acres are used to grow crops that are converted to animal feed, which means that about 65 per cent more land is harvested just to produce animal feed. That’s not to mention the 654 million acres of land that are used for pasture, which means that in the US ten times more land is given to animal farming compared to plant farming. In fact, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted exploring farming and the environment 83 per cent of all global agricultural land is used for animal farming.

Let’s have a look at the study that Kresser cited in more detail – Field Deaths in Plant Agriculture – published in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics in 2018. For those of you who saw his debate with James Wilks, who produced The Gamechangers, you’ll know that Kresser cannot read forest plots, but it seems as if he has a bigger problem – his inability to actually understand the subject matter in the first place, as he clearly had not read through the paper he cited.

Firstly, the 7.3 billion animals that Chris cites from this paper is derived from data that the authors call into question. In their own words they say, “the estimate should be reduced: 7.3 billion is clearly too high”. If you read the paper the authors actually do much more to dismantle the crop deaths argument, even providing example studies such as a 2004 study that examined the effect of wheat and corn harvesting in central Argentina. It compared the population and distribution of grass mice in three habitats: crop fields, regions bordering the fields and the wider surrounding area. While the number of mice found in fields substantially decreased after harvest, their numbers substantially increased in the border regions. When it came to disappearances, a category that included both mouse deaths and migration out of the study area, there was no significant difference between the three habitats. The study concluded that changes in the number of field animals were “the consequences of movement and not of high[er] mortality in crops”. 

If you just think about it, do we really believe that when a combine harvester is approaching causing a huge amount of noise and vibrations, mice, who normally use their excellent hearing to evade predators, are just going to wait to be killed? The paper Kresser is citing as a piece of evidence, actually does a great job of disproving the very point that he is trying to make and the figure that he cites as evidence is actually disputed in the paper that he is using as evidence. Honestly, Chris Kresser is such a quack.

Where does this whole concept come from? Well, an article was published back in 2003 by someone called Steven Davis that made the statement that fewer animals are harmed in an omnivorous diet that consists of free-range ruminant animals compared to eating an entirely plant-based diet. However, the article assumed that equal amounts of land will produce equal amounts of food, whether that be crops or animal products. This is obviously not true. 

Davis estimates that 7.5 animals are killed per hectare in ruminant pasture and that 15 are killed on land that is used to produce crops. So using his estimates this rebuttal that uses UN data states that 1,000 kilograms of protein can be produced on one hectare of land that is growing plants, but would take 10 hectares of land for grass-fed beef to produce the same amount. This means that Davis’s estimates actually further make the case for being plant-based as his own figures show that vegans are responsible for five times fewer animal deaths.

Further, non-vegans are paying for mutilations, reproductive system exploitation and other forms of suffering, which also applies to grass-fed animals who are disbudded, dehorned, castrated, have their ears tagged, can be branded and are transported in trucks for hours to get to slaughterhouses. In places like Australia, they can travel for 48 hours. Slaughterhouses are terrifying places for the animals to even be in before they are actually killed. Basically, being vegan doesn’t just reduce the number of animals killed on your behalf, it also reduces overall harm and suffering. Not to mention that animals killed in crop production have the chance to escape – the same cannot be said of farmed cows, sheep and so on.

There was then another article that was published back in 2011 and written by Mike Archer, which has been shared around by many non-vegans as it claims that wheat production is responsible for 25 times more deaths than grass-fed beef. Why? Because in Australia every four years on average there are events called mouse plagues where an overwhelming number of mice overrun the fields and are then often poisoned.

Mouse plagues only really occur in Australia, although they have happened in China. But the argument being made is that we shouldn’t be vegan because every four years or so there is a mouse plague in Australia during which farmers poison the mice. In essence, it’s saying that it’s bad for me to be a vegan in the UK because there are mouse plagues in Australia – how does that make sense? Regardless of how nonsensical the argument is, that didn’t stop Steven Crowder from using this logic to discount veganism the world over.

What about the mouse plague? Firstly, let’s just look at wheat consumption in Australia. According to the USDA, it is estimated that in 2019/2020, 3.5 million tonnes of wheat was produced for human consumption, whilst in the same period, six million tonnes was produced to be used as animal feed. So that means animal farmers use around 1.7 times more wheat and so would be responsible for around 1.7 times more mice being killed for wheat production alone.

This is important as well because around 80 per cent of beef sold in domestic supermarkets in Australia comes from animals that were grazing for about 85 to 90 per cent of their lives, but then are fattened up on feedlots for the last 10 to 15 per cent. On top of that, beef can still be sold as grass-fed if the cows have spent fewer than 70 days being fed grain, which, because cows are often slaughtered at around 18 months old, is within that 10 to 15 per cent time period.

What about solely grass-fed cattle, so animals who have only been fed grass? We have this idea that grass-fed means the animals are only consuming the pasture on which they are grazing but this is not the case. Hay, silage and haylage are all grass, so animals are still completely “grass-fed” when they are fed these food sources, which happens often, especially during the colder months or if pastures are nutritionally insufficient.

How do farmers get hay and silage? They have to harvest it. Meaning that even grass-fed cows are fed food that is harvested. So what about the mouse plagues? Well, at the beginning of March this year there was an article about the current mouse plague in Australia in which one farmer said this:

“The hay is a worry. Apparently, the mouse droppings and the urine all run through, it’s very damaging. It can disease cattle. It might be ruined.”

And in the same article another farmer is quoted:

“The Storer family grows sorghum to sell and feed their cattle but mice have been eating it, which has ‘hugely’ hurt them financially.”

Sorghum is a type of grass that is used to make hay. So basically the mouse plague affects the entire agricultural landscape, not just those who grow crops for vegans. This also applies to grass-fed cows as well who are fed hay and silage, which the mouse plague also affects. There is even a document put together by Feed Central, which is Australia’s largest hay selling platform, called Managing a Mouse Plague in Haystacks, which states that “whatever you do, don’t hold back on the number of bait stations.”

By way of a bit of perspective, around six million tonnes (metric tons) of hay is produced each year in Australia, which is nearly double the amount of wheat that is grown just for human consumption. On top of that, the mice also destroy pasture as well and impact grazing land, so even without the hay and silage, the mouse plagues still affect grass-fed cow farming.

Funnily enough, the article accusing vegans of causing more deaths does not mention any of that. We wonder why? Who causes more animal deaths: non-vegans who pay for animals to be directly killed and support industries that use significantly more grain, more land and also use all of the hay and silage; or vegans who use less grain, require less land, do not consume any hay or silage and do not pay for animals to be directly killed?

And guess what, the numbers that Archer uses in his article are twisted. He exaggerated the scale of the mouse plagues by stating that each area of grain production in Australia has a mouse plague every four years, but this is a falsehood according to – ironically – the article that Chris Kresser cited on the Joe Rogan podcast. You just can not make this up:

A more accurate picture is suggested by the Cooperative Research Centre which notes that each year between 100,000 and 500,000 hectares of grain crops in Australia are subject to mouse plagues. These figures suggest that in an average year 2.3 per cent of Australian grain cropland is hit by plague. When Archer’s figure of 55 deaths per hectare of grain is recalculated to only apply to 2.3 per cent of crop land the mortality rate for grain becomes 1.27 animals per hectare.

What this means is that when you use Archer’s figures for animal deaths, 2.2 animals are killed per 100kg of usable grass-fed beef protein, but only 0.7 animals are killed for 100kg of usable wheat protein. And also bear in mind that the 2.2 animal deaths for grass-fed protein do not include the animals killed for the harvest of hay, silage and other feed, so that number will actually be higher.

To summarise, plant-based farming does not cause more deaths, and the two main people who have tried to claim that it does have both inadvertently made the case for veganism even stronger, as when their numbers are applied correctly they also further prove that a plant-based diet kills fewer animals.

To top it all off, here is a chart showing the estimated number of deaths per one million calories for many of the major food items in our diets. As you can see, the difference in deaths between plant foods and animals is very substantial.

A diet of plants causes the fewest animals to be killed. Leaving chickens and eggs out of our diets will have the greatest effect on reducing the suffering and death caused by what we eat. Source: Animal Visuals

Not to mention that shifting to a plant-based diet would free up to 75 per cent of agricultural land, an area the equivalent of Australia, China, the EU and the US combined, which could be reforested and restored. In the words of a recent report from world-leading Chatham House:

Setting aside land for biodiversity to the exclusion of other uses, including farming, and either protecting or restoring natural habitat would offer the most benefit to biodiversity across a given landscape.

With the rise of vertical indoor farming, let’s end with another quote from the study that Chris Kresser cited:

Agriculture has taken a wide variety of forms throughout history, and current trends would seem to raise the serious possibility that plant agriculture might someday kill very few animals—perhaps even none.

So a plant-based diet isn’t just the most ethical right now, it’s going to continue to get more ethical as time goes by. If you care about animals and crop deaths, – AND EVEN IF YOU DON’T (SL) – then you should be need to be (SL) vegan.

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The earth is not a carnivore’s playground

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2023 3:44 am

    The earth is not a carnivore’s playground

    Liked by 1 person

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