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"There can be no question that more hunger can be alleviated with a given quantity of grain by completely eliminating animals [from the food production process]…grain eaten directly will feed 5 times as many people as it will if it is first fed to livestock and then is eaten indirectly by humans in the form of livestock products."

M. E. Ensminger, PhD, former Department of Animal Science Chairman at Washington State University.

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Yes, feeding the grain that animals eat to people instead, cutting out the "middlemen", would alleviate world hunger. If that happened, what would be the result? Well-fed people would have more children that survive to maturity, because the population is healthier. The population of the world would expand even more rapidly than it already has - in a never-ending spiral. This would cause more degradation of habitat (plus more hunger), and habitat loss and extinction for many more species of animals than happens at present. What we have at present is already a disgrace.

I don't believe that most, or even many, cultures would voluntarily limit their offspring - this doesn't seem to be the way most people or cultures think. Most have a "safety in numbers" type of mentality - "if my tribe is more numerous and strong, we will conquer the enemy". Heck, birth control is even against some "religions".

If you look at the way a species survives when taken to an alien environment - one that is much less harsh than that species is used to, and with less competition, you see a pattern of - literally - population explosion. An example of this is the way the Australian possum has proliferated in New Zealand, to the detriment of many native species. Another example is the cane toad frog (brought to Australia to combat the cane beetle), which now causes havoc. These animals have no natural predators, and so have multiplied out of bounds, destroying the balance of nature.

The human species has no natural predator, and has created a comfortable environment in most locations on the planet. He then proceeds to breed until the planet is filled up with people.

What good will it do to feed everyone on the planet, only to cover the planet with humans, to the exclusion of all other species?

i agree with the quote altho i do think that on a purely environmental argument some, but heavily reduced compared to today, animal use would be permitted or even beneficial. for example the use of non-humans is in some places an efficient way of gathering nutrients form the land, for example extensive hill sheep farming is a, on an ONLY environmental basis, *good* use of the land. also using non-humans is also beneficial for the storage of food in years of good harvest. the non-humans can then be killed and eaten in years of bad harvest. non-humans also produce needed fertilizers which, on an organic farming basis, have to be gotten form non-humans or form some sort of plant based source, like green manures (a crop grown that produces the need fertilizers and is then put back in to the ground). some argue that the use of a small number of non-humans is more efficient, on organic farming principles, than the use of green manures. if you farm on a non-organic basis then the fertilizers can be artificially produced. but this does have its problems. 1% of all the energy in the world goes to fixing nitrogen for agricultural purposes. most of this info comes form a book by Simon Fairlie called "meat the begining extravagance" i thought it was particularlay interesting but he in no way talks about ethics (ocasions that he does it is just a little ridiculous...!) but he does say and i do think that it is perfectly possible to and in my thinking but not his necessary to abolish animal use. 

Kath - i think it is the case that in "developed" (such a western, economic and social, model centric word!) countries the birth rate is such that the population would actually be falling if it was not for imigration. for example i think Norway has actualy tried to encorage people to go there because its population is falling. so with western style "development" comes falling birth rates. (i only know that this is the case in western style "developed" contraries but i really hope it is not the case that we need capitalist western style societies for this to be the case! i see no reason why this would be the case.) so hopefully if the world developed in some sense we would have a falling global population :)!. if we did feed all the people on the planet and developed in some but not necessarily homogeneous way we may soon have less humans on the planet. 

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