Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Observations Related To A Predator Attack

By "Predator", I don't mean Predator drones, nor the fictional extraterrestrial species known as "Predators", but a organism that feeds on hunted prey, also known as carnivores.

More specifically it is a clip of a Lioness performing a really elegant and successful attack on a Zebra.

Some of you may perhaps not feel inclined to be impressed by the elegance of this attack because you pity the ambushed Zebra. But while one can perhaps pity the individual Zebra, the fact is that this is positive for wild life.

Because Zebras, much like all other animals, can't produce food, this means that the potential number of Zebras (or herbivores in general in their areas) are limited. If lions and other predators were exterminated, then food shortages would arise, ultimately killing as many herbivores by starvation (or diseases) as are now being killed by predators.

Thus, the first lesson is that predation does not really reduce the number of herbivores, while enabling the existence of carnivores/predators.

Another observation is that humans are very different from animals in one important aspect. While animals (whether herbivores, omnivores,carnivores or parasites) can't create food or other resources, and instead simply has to rely on whatever is available in nature, humans can create new food and other forms of resources. Because humans can develop technology and in other ways use resources in a more efficient way, the number of humans isn't fixed, and can continue to expand as more people means more minds that can use resources in a more intelligent way.

Thomas Malthus warned some 200 years ago when the world only had about a billion people that we would run out of food, yet now when there is nearly 7 times as many people, food production per capita is at a record level, despite being inhibited by developed world farm policies that pays farmers to limit production and which limits new ways to expand production. This is why concerns about "over-population" is completely misguided, at least as long as the world isn't ruled by irrationalist ideas that prevent continued expansion of the output of food and other things.

An observation related to both of these two preceding observations is that human meat consumption is not a threat to the species used as food, but in fact something that advances it. The only reason why most domesticated pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys etc. can survive is because they are given food created by human farm technology, and because farmers have the incentive to feed them with it. But assume that suddenly everyone became vegetarians. Then the incentive to feed these animals would disappear, and then the animals themselves would likely disappear.

Thus, while the "animal rights" movement sometimes present themselves as being pro-animal, they are in fact working against the very existence of the animals they claim to care about. At least assuming that the animals are raised in decent conditions, it should therefore be clear that eating meat is pro-animal, as it allows more animals to exist.