I´m not sure whether this is the right forum for this but recently someone told me that if we didn´t eat cows and pigs, etc they would become extinct! she had studied to be a vet and this was fact! I was so gobsmacked that I couldn´t think of a good response! I guess maybe lions and tigers haven´t died out and we don´t eat them could have been one but has anyone got a better response???

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I doubt predatory animals can hunt their prey to extinction. Or else, well, we humans will be the only meat left on the menu for lions and tigers. (Couldn't think of a better response, so I just I stole yours.)

Hmmm... I would probably argue with her with the following couple points:

First, out of the multitude breeds of a type of animal (for example chicken,) we've only selected a few and through selective breeding we've enhanced their traits (such as egg laying or feed/ meat-growth ratio.) The remaining species faced extinction due to our intrusion in their natural living habitat. (I've attached an article regarding chicken breed are facing extinction for you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/chicken-breeds-face-extinc....)

Second, in agriculture farming, the specific type of farming animal, whether it's cows, pigs, or chicken, are so engineered that they can't be released in the wild. They do not have the agility or immunity to fend for themselves not to mention their bodily mutilation (such as debeaking, dehorning, and etc.) making them meals on legs for predators. Even if they have next generations, it would not look too rosy. We could only hope that through evolution over time, their specific breeds will become more hardy in the natural environment. Animals like Belgium blue bull will most probably not survive through the evolution without human intervention, since they are too large to be given birth by cows naturally and they are so meaty that they would become preferred prey. With this type of farm animals we have, would you say that we've kept the best genetic pools for the future if all other breeds became extinct? 

Some of our farm friends would not survive in the wild due to the selective breeding for certain qualities. For example, chickens are bred to grow faster and to be heavier. They wouldn't last out in the wild. There are many wild pigs, sheep, cattle, and feral chickens that are doing just fine. The only hunter that does not follow a cycle is man. Other predators basically go up and down in population size. For example, when the deer population explodes the wolves feast well and their population grows. The deer population lowers because of all the wolves, and as a result a year later the wolf population declines as there is less food, allowing the deer to re populate. Nature is always fine on her own.

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