- 26% of the Earth’s ice-free land is grassland used for livestock grazing. This land would not produce food for human consumption if not used for grazing.
- One billion poor people, mostly pastoralists in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, depend directly on livestock for food and livelihoods.
- Livestock contributes up to 40% of agricultural gross domestic product across a significant portion of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
- Livestock ranches in Africa have demonstrated that people can raise cattle on grasslands in ways that improve the health of rangelands while also providing food for people and contributing to local food security.
- World-wide, livestock provides 25% of protein intake and 15% of dietary energy.
If these "poor" people weren't "speciesists" they'd be starving.
If you aren't familiar with the diets and lifestyles of any of these people, I suggest you take a look at Ann Gibbons's National Geographic article on the Evolution of Diet. Here are some excerpts:
"It’s suppertime in the Amazon of lowland Bolivia, and Ana Cuata Maito is stirring a porridge of plantains and sweet manioc over a fire smoldering on the dirt floor of her thatched hut, listening for the voice of her husband as he returns from the forest with his scrawny hunting dog.
"With an infant girl nursing at her breast and a seven-year-old boy tugging at her sleeve, she looks spent when she tells me that she hopes her husband, Deonicio Nate, will bring home meat tonight. 'The children are sad when there is no meat,' Maito says through an interpreter, as she swats away mosquitoes."
"Rosinger introduces me to a villager named José Mayer Cunay, 78, who, with his son Felipe Mayer Lero, 39, has planted a lush garden by the river over the past 30 years. José leads us down a trail past trees laden with golden papayas and mangoes, clusters of green plantains, and orbs of grapefruit that dangle from branches like earrings. Vibrant red 'lobster claw' heliconia flowers and wild ginger grow like weeds among stalks of corn and sugarcane. “José’s family has more fruit than anyone,” says Rosinger.
"Yet in the family’s open-air shelter Felipe’s wife, Catalina, is preparing the same bland porridge as other households. When I ask if the food in the garden can tide them over when there’s little meat, Felipe shakes his head. 'It’s not enough to live on,' he says. 'I need to hunt and fish. My body doesn’t want to eat just these plants.'
"The children are sad when there is no meat" and "I need to hunt and fish. My body doesn't want to eat just these plants." If humans don't need meat, why would children of foragers be sad without it? Why would a man who has plenty of fruit say he needs to hunt and fish? These people are not indoctrinated by the meat and dairy industries or the dietitian's association. They aren't eating according to ideology.
According to vegan ideology all of these people are immoral because they value human interests more than assumed animal interests ("animal rights"). I say "assumed animal interests" because no animal has ever outlined its interests or asked humans for upgraded status. All claims on behalf of animals are made by humans. Humans rule this Earth domain, and the fact that only humans petition for "animal rights" only underscores this fact.
Professor Carl Cohen notes that humans can't fulfill their moral duties to humanity unless they are speciesists:
"I am a speciesist. Speciesism is not merely plausible; it is essential for right conduct, because those who will not make the morally relevant distinctions among species are almost certain, in consequence, to misapprehend their true obligations. The analogy between speciesism and racism is insidious. Every sensitive moral judgement requires that the differing natures of the beings to whom obligations are owed to be considered. If all forms of animate – or vertebrate animal life? – must be treated equally, and if therefore in evaluating a research program [or other enterprise] the pains of a rodent count equally with the pains of a human, we are forced to conclude (1) that neither humans nor rodents possess rights, or (2) that rodents possess all the rights that humans possess. Both alternatives are absurd. Yet one or the other must be swallowed if the moral equality of all species is to be defended.
"Humans owe to other humans a degree of moral regard that cannot be owed to animals. Some humans take on the obligation to support and heal others, both humans and animals, as a principal duty in their lives; the fulfillment of that duty may require the sacrifice of many animals. If biomedical investigators abandon the effective pursuit of their professional objectives because they are convinced that they may not do to animals what the service of humans requires, they will fail, objectively, to do their duty. Refusing to recognize the moral differences among species is a sure path to calamity. (The largest animal rights group in the country is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; its co-director, Ingrid Newkirk, calls research using animal subjects 'fascism' and 'supremacism.' 'Animal liberationists do not separate out the human animal,' she says, 'so there is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They're all mammals.')"So: Anti-speciesism is anti-human and both irrational and immoral.
Consequently, like professor Cohen and those one billion "poor" pastoralists, I too am a pro-human speciesist.