David N. Snyder wrote:Correct; the argument the author makes is a very old one. A vegetarian diet causes the unintended consequence of killing to numerous insects and small animals. This is due to the plant-based agriculture to produce grains. The meat based diet causes these killings too. The animals are fed grain for years; so there is this same amount of killing plus the large animal that was fed for consumption. The best we can do is limit the amount of suffering and killing to the lowest degree. But he is correct that neither diet is completely pure and free of killing.
There is a little more nuance to this than first meets the eye. For instance, where I live the soil is so terrible that we can't grow most crops. However, we do have a layer of natural grasses that are able to feed cattle. Since these cattle are not feeding off an agriculturally raised feed, there are no mouse genocides. Many places that raise cattle do so because they can't grow anything else. It's one of the benefits of their four-chambered stomachs that they can turn otherwise non-agriculural land into productive land.
On the other hand, often these natural grass diets are often supplemented with agriculturally raised grains, especially just before slaughter. And when animals are fed entirely on agriculturally raised grains, the amount of grain that goes into a serving of steak is something like 40 servings of grains, a horribly inefficient ratio involving many more mouse deaths than when we just eat the grain ourselves.
My primary reason for reducing my meat intake is health and environment, which this article never attempted to address.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.