I've often wondered about it.....if the whole world were vegetarian or vegan what would happen to the animals? How would we control their numbers? For instance in the Bahamas we are now told that we need to eat lots of lionfish because there are many in our waters. The lionfish is an invasive species and are killing our coral reefs. What about overpopulation of certain species? What are your thoughts?
Well first of all, the chances of the whole world going vegan overnight is nil. Not going to happen. If the whole world DID go vegan gradually over the span of a hundred years or more, everything would regulate itself. First, you have to understand that the vast majority of the meat we eat is not from animals in the wild. It is from factory farming. WE breed the animals. As demand for meat goes down, the factory farms would breed less animals. So it's not like we'd have a cow and chicken population explosion. They just wouldn't be bred anymore.
If there was a specific species that was doing particular damage to an area, I'm sure we'd find ways to regulate the population without eating all the animals, and maybe not even by killing them. Maybe by introducing another species (possibly one we made an impact on their numbers with overhunting) to the area that would help keep the destructive species in check.
And usually the next question I hear after "what would happen to all the animals?" is "how would we have enough land to grow food for everyone since everyone will need more plant food?" I know you didn't ask it, but it's relevant anyway so I'm going to touch on it. It takes 16 lbs of plant food to produce one lb of meat. A large portion of our crops are feeding our livestock. If we didn't breed livestock anymore, we'd actually FREE UP land for other uses.
A long time ago, when humans only ate meat they hunted (not bred), wildlife was much more plentiful, but it wasn't an issue. For thousands of years, meat was only a very small portion of our diet. I highly doubt we even hunted unless our plant food was scarce. I mean, how much of a pain in the butt is it to chase down a deer with a spear and kill it, then skin it and clean it and cook it? It's much easier to pick berries. LOL So I believe it was probably only done when absolutely necessary for food and maybe hides for clothing, ect. Yet, we never had an issue with over populations of chickens and cows. If a wolf kept bothering a tribe, they'd kill it and use the skin. That was the extent of "population control". That was all that was necessary. And ironically enough, they probably didn't eat the wolf. I hear carnivore meat is tough and not tasty.
are you serious -__-
if everyone stopped eating meat and animal biproducts the animal population is going to explode. there are animals in different continents that are really only here because of farming, and those will be negatively impacted, if anything. the population will decrease because we wont be artificially inseminating them but they will not disappear completely. this would be a step backward in evolution, which would be healthier but cause uproar in the food chain. you cannot take the top of the food chain out and expect things to stay the same! there is no way you would not have to kill animals. if we are not eating nor killing other animals, it puts us down to the other herbivores on the list - we might as well be rabbits. if all the lions stopped eating antelopes and wildebeasts, those populations are going to explode. its simple biology. if we are not controlling the animal populations by eating them, its even more inhumane. or, if we take the option of bringing in other species, you are again changing the ecosystem you are in and allowing that NEW species to grow. theres no way. it would take much longer than 100 years for everything to level out. we are all animals, its kill or be killed. its not some kind of disgusting mentallity. its how the animal kingdom works. granted, that isnt relevant in todays world to most people as vegans are true to their beliefs and arent getting torn apart by animals while walking down the street. but in a situation where the world is completely vegan, simply not eating or killing the animals is going to put the human race in a sticky situation.
when people hunted in the past like you are saying, it WAS very much an issue. caveman had to hunt everyday for survival or we would have died out as a race. the human race has only flourished BECAUSE we are at the top of the food chain. yes there was a time when we were hunter-gatherers but without hunting there is no way we would have been strong enough of animals to stay and literally take over the world. we did hunt only when necessary. thats exactly it... necessary. there are tons of stories of animals terrorizing early towns and villages and carnivores raiding entire colonies. the plant life was not enough to sustain us as times were a lot different and living was much more labor-intensive.
we had no overpopulation of chickens and cows because they were only in one area of the earth, and they were eaten. there is no way we could have sustained villages, nonetheless HUMAN RACE, on berry picking alone. (which, pun intended, was often fruitless as it took hours to gather)
deer, for example, are a highly hunted animal and most are wild. if none are being hunted, they will be growing in vast numbers. they will be feeding off our farms and orchards, BECAUSE THATS ALREADY WHAT THEY DO WHILE BEING HUNTED BY HUMANS. and you want to control that population.. okay lets set wolves out. wolves eat all the deer, now what. tons of wolves. well us vegan humans are not going to kill them. so.... now what. release lions?
not to mention the entire economy changes boy oh boy...
anyway my point is if the world went vegan, we would die not because of health problems but because we shoot down the animal chain to defenseless herbivores.
The consequences would be huge, naturally agriculture would shift massively, great amounts of land would have to be handed over to crop farming, I’d imagine cattle would be slaughtered as soon as possible, if no one wants to eat them no one is gonna pay to feed them or let them take up land.
The fields will need ploughing, so that might bring in jobs or the unemployed fisherman. Well probably meat animals like pigs and sheep would be looking at extinction. or pigs would survive for the medical industry, sheep would still be used for wool probably. If people were not eating milk or eggs then cattle and chicken could be added to the list. Fish would probably do quite well out if it though.
The overpopulation of some species would require culling.. only instead of having them for food… I guess we’d just be killing them. :)