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If everyone stops eating meat, what would happen to all the animals? How about our economy?

Change does not happen overnight. If enough people stop purchasing animal products, the demand for them will go down over time, and economic pressure will dictate that fewer animals are bred into existence to be killed for food. It's important to remember that, even though billions of animals are born into the meat/dairy/egg industries each year, their life spans are cut short, with nearly all of them killed before they reach full maturity. As a result, from one year to the next, the numbers of animals within the system of exploitation can be drastically adjusted based on the industry's response to market fluctuations. Market demand for animal products is the guiding hand used by the industry to determine production, so the total population of animals being used can and must rapidly shift downward to accommodate any decrease in aggregate demand.

In terms of the economic impact of this change, nearly every movement for social justice has been challenged by people raising the fear that eliminating the injustice will create an economic collapse. However, we can see, for example, the success of the women's movement allowed women to enter the workplace in large numbers, but this did not destroy our economy as some predicted; it merely contributed to its evolution.

Given that animal agriculture, when practiced at the scale needed to feed billions of people a diet based on animal products, consumes vast amounts of water, land and other resources while contributing to deforestation, soil erosion, habitat destruction and a loss of biodiversity, perhaps it is more useful to turn this question around. Perhaps we should be more concerned about what will happen to our economy if large numbers of people continue to eat a diet based on animal products. The use of vast tracts of land to grow feed for animals is connected with several dramatic impacts, including: 1) making it more difficult for those in less wealthy countries to get access to the farmland they need to feed themselves, 2) increasing deforestation as more and more land is cleared to grow animal feed crops, and 3) damage to the biodiversity upon which our collective survival depends.

A report produced by two researchers with the World Bank and published by Worldwatch Institute, called Livestock & Climate Change, has documented that over 51% of all global warming impact is being caused by animal agriculture.

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