Are animal rights activists making things better or worse for animals?

Feb 2012
3,888
Portugal
#21
To be honest these happy farm solutions seem more like wishful thinking unless by increasing the price of meat they will lead to less meat consumption. In the old days the world was less populated and a large part of the population only ate meat once a week and obviously all part of the animal's carcass were used so there was no waste. Today things are not like that people can eat meat every day and if that is not enough there is a lot of waste at every level. Meat was never an eficient way of producing food. people are always looking for the free lunch, but the problem is there are no free lunches.
To consume more is necessary to produce more and producing more always comes with consequences.
Among conflicting rights and fanatical activism we may also include the misleading "easy solution" argument.
 
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Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,906
Korea
#22
To be honest these happy farm solutions seem more like wishful thinking unless by increasing the price of meat they will lead to less meat consumption. In the old days the world was less populated and a large part of the population only ate meat once a week and obviously all part of the animal's carcass were used so there was no waste.
I frequently purchase my chickens from an old couple who works at our local market. The chickens are raised on their family farm by their son, they butcher the chickens themselves, and when selling them, they offer the bones, feet, hearts, and the like as free extras to individuals who desire them. Ironically, because these people live fairly humbly and do the work themselves, it doesn't even raise the price of the meat: their smallest chickens are only 4 or 5 dollars each. To the extent that "wishful thinking" is at work here, it's got less to do with the logistics, and more to do with the fact that actually achieving this model requires extracting parasitic white collar business administrators who "handle the logistics" or the like, as such people's wages come from margin manipulation rather than actual production, and fattening the margins beyond what can (humbly) support those directly involved in the production process requires either abusive practices or an excellent marketing campaign directed at fairly affluent people. In other words, "Happy Farm" works, and even seems to work fairly well, but the same is not necessarily true of "Happy Corporate Farm." Note that it seems to scale much more poorly with regards to beef than chicken -- local beef produced through similar methodology is quite expensive -- but from an environmental perspective, that's not necessarily a bad thing. That observation may only be salient to my area of the world, though, given we live in the mountains, and it's not a particularly friendly place to allow cattle to graze. I do know that it still works fairly well with goats around here; I see goats grazing on the mountain side, more-or-less feeding themselves off of abundant plant life which can be sustained in their presence, and their meat is for sale at a not unreasonable price (more expensive than chickens or pigs). That doesn't mean that "Happy Farm" is an "easy solution" though: keeping the money-hungry managerial class out of any economic enterprise is a challenge in its own right, and convincing the current generation to accept the fairly humble standard of living involved will probably be difficult as well on any sizable scale.

A further complication would be tending to people in mega-cities; solutions like this work around here because we're a town of moderate size situated directly within farmland and forest; one can raise animals within walking distance of where one will sell their meat. The sheer cost of trying to operate somewhere like New York City might itself price the model out of existence, since even if one wanted to institute some sort of "delivery loop" to eliminate having to purchase or rent an massively overpriced venue from which to sell the meat, the directly-adjacent land might be insufficient to the needs of the local populace. An adequate implementation of animal rights might mean that only those outside of large cities would have regular access to meat, absent some other solution.

Today things are not like that people can eat meat every day and if that is not enough there is a lot of waste at every level. Meat was never an eficient way of producing food.
Depends on the meat. Sure, tearing down forests or cultivating corn to feed cows isn't particularly efficient or sustainable, but pigs and chickens can certainly be raised sustainably and with fair efficiency. In some areas, even cows might be a fairly efficient food-production choice, assuming the presence of grazing land which would ill serve as farming land, but I have no direct experience with that, so I cannot speak with certitude.
 
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Feb 2012
3,888
Portugal
#23
I frequently purchase my chickens from an old couple who works at our local market. The chickens are raised on their family farm by their son, they butcher the chickens themselves, and when selling them, they offer the bones, feet, hearts, and the like as free extras to individuals who desire them. Ironically, because these people live fairly humbly and do the work themselves, it doesn't even raise the price of the meat: their smallest chickens are only 4 or 5 dollars each. To the extent that "wishful thinking" is at work here, it's got less to do with the logistics, and more to do with the fact that actually achieving this model requires extracting parasitic white collar business administrators who "handle the logistics" or the like, as such people's wages come from margin manipulation rather than actual production, and fattening the margins beyond what can (humbly) support those directly involved in the production process requires either abusive practices or an excellent marketing campaign directed at fairly affluent people. In other words, "Happy Farm" works, and even seems to work fairly well, but the same is not necessarily true of "Happy Corporate Farm." Note that it seems to scale much more poorly with regards to beef than chicken -- local beef produced through similar methodology is quite expensive -- but from an environmental perspective, that's not necessarily a bad thing. That observation may only be salient to my area of the world, though, given we live in the mountains, and it's not a particularly friendly place to allow cattle to graze. I do know that it still works fairly well with goats around here; I see goats grazing on the mountain side, more-or-less feeding themselves off of abundant plant life which can be sustained in their presence, and their meat is for sale at a not unreasonable price (more expensive than chickens or pigs). That doesn't mean that "Happy Farm" is an "easy solution" though: keeping the money-hungry managerial class out of any economic enterprise is a challenge in its own right, and convincing the current generation to accept the fairly humble standard of living involved will probably be difficult as well on any sizable scale.

A further complication would be tending to people in mega-cities; solutions like this work around here because we're a town of moderate size situated directly within farmland and forest; one can raise animals within walking distance of where one will sell their meat. The sheer cost of trying to operate somewhere like New York City might itself price the model out of existence, since even if one wanted to institute some sort of "delivery loop" to eliminate having to purchase or rent an massively overpriced venue from which to sell the meat, the directly-adjacent land might be insufficient to the needs of the local populace. An adequate implementation of animal rights might mean that only those outside of large cities would have regular access to meat, absent some other solution.



Depends on the meat. Sure, tearing down forests or cultivating corn to feed cows isn't particularly efficient or sustainable, but pigs and chickens can certainly be raised sustainably and with fair efficiency. In some areas, even cows might be a fairly efficient food-production choice, assuming the presence of grazing land which would ill serve as farming land, but I have no direct experience with that, so I cannot speak with certitude.
About your example some things should be taken in consideration. For a start we need to compare the price of the chicken to the purchasing power where you live. Around here an entire chicken sold at a retailler would cost 1,8 dollars. Besides certainly in Korea you have intensive farm chickens being sold which drives the prices of chickens down. Now imagine intensive farm chickens are not available will the traditional farming meet the demand the same way? Because if not it will drive the prices up. Raising a pig, a chicken or a cow was never a problem but in the old days a humble farmer was unlikely to eat the animal himself and would sell it instead to the wealthy and feed himself on a plant based diet. Of course generalized traditional farming could solve the problem by driving prices up and reducing people's ability to buy meat. But this is just another way of arriving to the "no meat" solution.
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,906
Korea
#24
About your example some things should be taken in consideration. For a start we need to compare the price of the chicken to the purchasing power where you live. Around here an entire chicken sold at a retailler would cost 1,8 dollars.
That's amazingly cheap. Looking at OECD comparative price levels Portugal is generally cheaper than Korea, but not that much cheaper, which implies that the price of our meat is not being suppressed by production methodology quite as much as yours.

Besides certainly in Korea you have intensive farm chickens being sold which drives the prices of chickens down. Now imagine intensive farm chickens are not available will the traditional farming meet the demand the same way? Because if not it will drive the prices up.
It is difficult to know. What we do know that the price of non-factory-farmed chicken can be as low as it is now, because it exists, and the people providing it make an adequate living off of it. The question, then, is simply whether we have enough agricultural workers willing to live at the standard in question. Currently, the answer is probably, "Yes," at least outside of Seoul; all one need do is visit the local markets in rural areas to see that many people live by selling far less profitable things than chickens, and it's entirely conceivable that they'd shift into raising them should demand increase, yet keep prices in check through competition with one another, just as they do now with other products. Indeed, from my perspective, the fact that meat raised on "Unhappy Corporate Farm" eats up so much demand and keeps these people out of such a model is one of the deficiencies of the system; they could probably be living more comfortable lives were the market not already so saturated. On the other hand, within Seoul, the answer might actually be, "No," for the same reason I suggested such a model might not fit a place like New York well, though given how small Korea is, it seems logistically possible that a network of "Happy Farms" could team up to provide ethically-raised meat affordably to the denizens of Seoul, though our fried chicken shops would likely suffer, since unlike a "Happy Farms Delivery Loop," they need an (expensive) physical presence in Seoul, and their profits depend on cheap chicken. Finally, within a generation or two, it's difficult to predict what our labor force will look like, so whether this approach will remain viable going forward is difficult to know. But, at least for the moment, we probably could provide meat for most of our non-mega-city populace through a "Happy Farm"-style model at prices which, if not identical to current ones, are at least comparable.

I don't want to come off as too certain here; I've got an impression on the matter, and it's an impression grounded in quite a bit of anecdotal information, but it's not based upon rigorous statistically-driven information, so it's difficult to truly know how this would play out if aggressively pursued. The model I have in my head is older people -- who are often pushed out of employment in their fifties -- serving as the labor required and combining the humble remuneration afforded by the service in question with their previous earnings in their twenties through early fifties to carry them over comfortably into retirement, and the absence of price suppression driven by factory farming could facilitate that. This attempts to resolve a few social problems at once: it seeks to push people out of big cities and distribute them more evenly around the country, it seeks to help older people with the matter of what sort of work to do when pushed out of the work force (it's a real issue here), and it seeks to make our meat industry both more ethical and more sustainable, but would it really work? I suppose I don't know; I'm more speaking about it to explore the issue than to "proclaim the truth."

Of course generalized traditional farming could solve the problem by driving prices up and reducing people's ability to buy meat. But this is just another way of arriving to the "no meat" solution.
Raising prices is not a way towards a "no meat" solution, it is a way towards a "less meat" solution, at least on a collective scale. Some individuals might be pushed off of meat entirely if they are extremely poor, but pricing models which crash demand will just get undercut, because it's really not that hard to raise chickens; the barrier to entry is low, at least in much of the world.
 
#25
20 years ago the Galapagos Islands had serious problems with invasive goats ruining the biodiversity of the islands, the Ecuadorian Government called in the military to exterminate over 100,000 goats. It took 9 years for Project Isabela to be declared a success.

Project Isabela

Using machine guns, helicopters, GPS and "Judas Goats" to slaughter 100,000 goats, leaving their carcasses to rot on the islands is an inhumane form of population control. Yet it was tolerated because the biodiverse ecosystem of the island was worth far more than those goats.
 
Likes: Yôḥānān
Feb 2012
3,888
Portugal
#26
That's amazingly cheap. Looking at OECD comparative price levels Portugal is generally cheaper than Korea, but not that much cheaper, which implies that the price of our meat is not being suppressed by production methodology quite as much as yours.



It is difficult to know. What we do know that the price of non-factory-farmed chicken can be as low as it is now, because it exists, and the people providing it make an adequate living off of it. The question, then, is simply whether we have enough agricultural workers willing to live at the standard in question. Currently, the answer is probably, "Yes," at least outside of Seoul; all one need do is visit the local markets in rural areas to see that many people live by selling far less profitable things than chickens, and it's entirely conceivable that they'd shift into raising them should demand increase, yet keep prices in check through competition with one another, just as they do now with other products. Indeed, from my perspective, the fact that meat raised on "Unhappy Corporate Farm" eats up so much demand and keeps these people out of such a model is one of the deficiencies of the system; they could probably be living more comfortable lives were the market not already so saturated. On the other hand, within Seoul, the answer might actually be, "No," for the same reason I suggested such a model might not fit a place like New York well, though given how small Korea is, it seems logistically possible that a network of "Happy Farms" could team up to provide ethically-raised meat affordably to the denizens of Seoul, though our fried chicken shops would likely suffer, since unlike a "Happy Farms Delivery Loop," they need an (expensive) physical presence in Seoul, and their profits depend on cheap chicken. Finally, within a generation or two, it's difficult to predict what our labor force will look like, so whether this approach will remain viable going forward is difficult to know. But, at least for the moment, we probably could provide meat for most of our non-mega-city populace through a "Happy Farm"-style model at prices which, if not identical to current ones, are at least comparable.

I don't want to come off as too certain here; I've got an impression on the matter, and it's an impression grounded in quite a bit of anecdotal information, but it's not based upon rigorous statistically-driven information, so it's difficult to truly know how this would play out if aggressively pursued. The model I have in my head is older people -- who are often pushed out of employment in their fifties -- serving as the labor required and combining the humble remuneration afforded by the service in question with their previous earnings in their twenties through early fifties to carry them over comfortably into retirement, and the absence of price suppression driven by factory farming could facilitate that. This attempts to resolve a few social problems at once: it seeks to push people out of big cities and distribute them more evenly around the country, it seeks to help older people with the matter of what sort of work to do when pushed out of the work force (it's a real issue here), and it seeks to make our meat industry both more ethical and more sustainable, but would it really work? I suppose I don't know; I'm more speaking about it to explore the issue than to "proclaim the truth."



Raising prices is not a way towards a "no meat" solution, it is a way towards a "less meat" solution, at least on a collective scale. Some individuals might be pushed off of meat entirely if they are extremely poor, but pricing models which crash demand will just get undercut, because it's really not that hard to raise chickens; the barrier to entry is low, at least in much of the world.
The difference of price with Korea might be because Portugal is poorer. But for instance here that kind of sale you describe is ilegal and the farmers would be interpolated by sanitary inspectors a police squad with machine guns and put out of business.
There are also other factors not mentioned like imported meat and how this would have to enforced globaly and etc...

However the problem here is this, even if it would be viable it would only improve somewhat the living standards of some animals. Even in the traditional way fowl is kept in small crowded dirty coops and subject to bad treatments. Rabitts traditionaly around here are raised in small cages with no sun exposure. And then there is slaying day when the animals are pretty aware of what is going on and humans do something that is repulsive for anyone one who is not a psycopath and that necessarily will mess with people's heads in particulary if they have to do it on a daily basis. But the majority of people never saw that happen so they can dream with the ideal farm where animals live and die happily.

Also the environmental issues would be there and maybe even some others would be added.

BTW no meat was an exageration, and from an environmental point of view maybe there is a certain quantity of animal food that doesn't make that difference between being vegan, vegetarian or eating a small amount of meat like it was done traditionaly and still is in some countries.
 
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