All of Nicolas_Feil's Comments + Replies

Preventing pandemics by not hunting and farming animals

I didn't mean to cite the Korea study as an example of plant-based campaigns. It is not. It's a nationalist and traditionalist campaign but it shows that diet change campaigns such as cooking courses have been (cited as) highly effective; at least the study claims that the government campaigns were a main contributor to the fact that Korea is the least obese country in the OECD.

One would also need to change school curricula with their food pyramid, direct change in public catering, get nutritionists to agree that animal protein has no benefits etc. Most an

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Preventing pandemics by not hunting and farming animals

// On tractability and implementation

Thanks for your thoughts! I agree with everything you say but one thing, but maybe you can explain a bit more so I understand: "Even if governments decided they wanted to do this, it's a much harder step to take than a lot of other steps they could take toward reducing pandemic risk"

Are you referring to specific measures? One much-proposed idea seems to invest in medical systems[1]. However, that costs around 3% of world GDP[2] whereas my measures don't seem to cost much. Readying healthcare systems ... (read more)

5George1y"Another problem is shadow markets. They persist for many products and services that governments have tried to discourage, like drugs and prostitution. However, unlike with those two, there is a clear, safe and cheap substitute for animal products - plant products." There are also substitutes for illegal drugs and prostitution, e.g. legal drugs, and masturbation, respectively. Despite this, there is still a market for illegal drugs and prostitution, though perhaps a smaller one than if those substituted didn't exist. The substitutes are already priced into the market. We already eat plants, which means we already eat less animal product than if the substitute didn't exist. The substitutes are already priced into the market. You can probably shift demand further by subsidizing the substitutes or taxing the animal products, but this requires political capital or better supply of substitutes, not just pointing to existing substitutes.
4Julia_Wise1yI would expect the low-hanging fruit to be things like closing certain types of operations or outlawing certain practices, not ending animal consumption entirely. This industry wouldn't just vanish costlessly - it would have to be replaced with something else, in terms of livelihoods for people who currently work in that sector, economic reality for low-income people who raise and hunt animals, and food culture. For example, I'm from Virginia where tobacco used to be a major crop and still is to some degree (despite the frowns of public health experts). When the government decided to start discouraging tobacco use, those tobacco farmers had to be transitioned to another livelihood. For example, in 2004 the federal government offered $10 billion in buyouts to encourage tobacco farmers to switch to another crop. The study you point to on the "nutrition transition in South Korea" includes in its summary "Major dietary changes included a large increase in the consumption of animal food products and a fall in total cereal intake." Providing lessons to people in preparing traditional plant-based foods doesn't mean that's what people will actually do en masse.