There is no discussion in this article about the amount of processed food waste, canola meal, distillers grains, whey, soybean meat, ect, that animals consume. Products that would otherwise end up in the landfill, but instead are used to raise animals..a missing part of the sustainability equation in this article.
Good point. I should have mentioned that. Thank you.
All in, it doesn't change the fact that animals are an inefficient means for food production...
I would disagree, they turn waste to food and require minimal processing of the food produced....when you look at the totality of energy consumed on taking plant material to processed food and then transporting it to the consumer the energy equation is pretty close.
Also look at land use....land used for grazing and animal food production due to fertility issues often has minimal ability to produce food for human consumption, hereby allowing us to better utilize available land resources.
It probably is a surprise to you that properly raising animals, beef/dairy/pork can be done as a carbon sink....proper rotation of grazing land and feedstuffs means that the environment will absorb more carbon then the animal produces in its life span. Please look at the work done by Standard Soil..http://standardsoil.com/
I will admit that past practices haven't always been the best, like any industry, but agriculture especially animal agriculture is rapidly changing as our awareness of environmental stresses are becoming better understood and the ability to minimize environmental impact has become more available.
Ok, I'll check out the SS site. All in, I can't remember coming across any data that suggests animals are anywhere close to being as efficient (land use, water, carbon, feed, etc) as plants. Yes, soil health is a big issue, and animals can help a great deal by using their manure, but the practice of raising them for slaughter isn't need for them to be used in this way. In addition, companies like KDC (http://kdcag.com/) are finding ways to revitalize soil health without animal manure.
This also says nothing of the fact that if the whole world transitioned to pasture-raised meat, there wouldn't be enough land to produce it, even if all the forests were leveled. Either way, we need to eat less animals...