I am a 4th year doctorate student in Agricultural and Applied Economics (my area is environmental economics with a fellowship in sustainable agriculture), and I can assure you, this author has little grasp of basic economics -- just enough to to flaunt his ignorance in a way that promotes his political agenda and makes him sound like he knows what he's talking about to other people who don't understand basic economics. People base their food consumption choices on a variety of criteria, including their value system, their preferences, their budget, the good's price, cultural norms and taboos, their information and knowledge about the good, their need for sustenance etc. They buy to maximize their utility ("happiness/satisfaction"). Period. There is nothing in the theory of economics that supports his statement that "as long as people eat meat, factory farms will be the dominant mode of production." In fact, every dominant means of food production in the history of human civilization has been replaced by a new dominant means of production at some point. As economists, sociologists, ethicists, environmentalists and consumers research and assess the true costs of factory farms, their role in production will diminish and possibly be replaced (I hope soon!)
This author also has no concept of sustainability and of the complex environmental, social, and economic drivers that affect it. Sustainable agricultural systems require complex interactions between plants and animals. They require landscape level environmental processes and strong social systems. We will not achieve this sustainability by all becoming vegans or vegetarians. Again this author knows only enough about sustainability to flaunt his ignorance in a way that promotes his political agenda to other people who know little about sustainability.
We definitely have sustainability, environmental, social and animal welfare problems in the developed countries in this world. And human population growth is putting a huge strain on our natural resources. I am dedicating my professional life to these problems and they are HUGE. But ending all meat consumption is not the answer.
This guy really makes me mad!!!