Placental mammals make up the majority of meat consumption. The next biggest category is flying animals (chickens can fly). They both have features that are incredibly inefficient for human use. They are very warm-blooded, pretty intelligent compared with other groups of animals, which takes up a lot of energy. Useful for avoiding predators, but just wastes feed for no benefit for humans.

Cows especially have long gestation periods and well-built young, which is useful to avoid predation in the wild, but no human society has its pregnant and newborn placental mammals at significant risk of predation. Instead, the long gestation period puts the mother at risk of complications and the lack of litters makes breeding more of a hassle. Domesticated placental in general mammals also do not have hollow bones, which makes extracting marrow more difficult.

Since God supposedly created animals to help man, should domesticated animals not be more fit for purpose?

Also, extinct animals that young earth creationists believe were with humans have members that have no reason to not just be better than modern animals for domestication. For example, non-avian herbivorous dinosaurs would not have the very high metabolism needed for flight, and since there is no reason for humans for chickens to fly, they would be the better choice to domesticate. Herbivorous crocodylomorphs would also be a good option, as they are cold(er) blooded, so would efficient for eggs and meat.

Also, since rapid speciation is a thing for young earth creationists, there is no reason why the domesticated animals humans have should not evolve at hyper speed to more sane for purpose forms. Why would rapid speciation be a thing for wild animals and not domestic ones?


  • @NigelJ What part of this is opinion? Nov 2 '21 at 15:00
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    The only substantiation is a link to a graph of meat consumption from 1961 to 2013.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 2 '21 at 15:09
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    I will downvote on the grounds that OP asked multiple questions.
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 2 '21 at 15:20
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    You have neither substantiated nor proven the two opinions that 'domesticated animals are inefficient' and that they have 'better alternatives'.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 2 '21 at 15:22
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    @AupakaranaAbhibhaa, as noted elsewhere, extinct animals have the very significant drawback of being extinct. Which would indicate that they were either very difficult to domesticate in the first place (in order to have a human-maintained breeding population), and/or very difficult to keep alive in the current climate. Either of which makes them self-evidently inferior overall.
    – Matthew
    Nov 2 '21 at 16:54

The primary answer is the Fall of Man. When Adam and Eve sinned, death entered the creation, as well as the slow accumulation of genetic defects, plagues, changes to climate, etc. The plants and animals we have today are cursed. They preserve some of the original perfect design, but with deficiencies.

According to YEC, prior to the Flood, all creatures were vegetarian, so meat consumption was not a design goal. Only after the flood, in a world where good nutrition became immensely more difficult, did God concede to humans and animals the necessity of carnivorous behavior.

Compare the energy density of animal fat (35) to gasoline (34.2). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

Our World economic system currently is based on hydrocarbon consumption, so it is a pretty efficient fuel source, stable and not prone to explode (except in movies). Animal fat is marginally more efficient. I would call that excellent design.


In God's speech to Job, he reveals part of the reason for his creation of the animals. They were not created solely for man. God derives delight from all his creations. Also, if you look at the different type of care that God shows toward each listed animal, you find every major physical, emotional and spiritual need represented, either directly or by parabolic analogy. The weakness or neediness of the animals shows forth God's character, as he lovingly meets their needs. Among the needs listed is help in delivering and raising young.

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
2 Do you count the months till they bear?
    Do you know the time they give birth?
3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
    their labor pains are ended.
4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
    they leave and do not return." (Job 39:1-4)
  • But humans specifically had animals for sacrifice before the flood. So even if it was just for that, the animals should have gotten better at it or were designed better for it. Nov 2 '21 at 14:17
  • The sacrifices in Leviticus are various. Some are consumed by the priest, some shared with the person offering it, and some completely consumed (the burnt offering) - for God alone. It is not stated which type of sacrifice was being offered prior to the flood, so we do not know whether people had permission to eat that sacrifice. Nov 2 '21 at 15:03
  • Not eating it or eating it are effectively the same in terms of the animal's evolution/"adaptation" and the same traits that would be useful for both. It is not like it is difficult to find a kosher animal if hyraxes can get into the kosher club. Nov 2 '21 at 15:11
  • How do you know the Job thing is not for animals to hunt, fitting in with the stated purpose to help humans? Nov 2 '21 at 15:34
  • @AupakaranaAbhibhaa, even animal sacrifice was not part of God's original plan. Also, if an animal sacrifice involves investing a lot of time and resources in the animal, doesn't that make it a more valuable/meaningful sacrifice, not less? How do you know that your criteria for "better" matches God's criteria?
    – Matthew
    Nov 2 '21 at 16:10

since rapid speciation is a thing for young earth creationists, there is no reason why the domesticated animals humans have should not evolve at hyper speed to more sane for purpose forms

This statement is false, and demonstrates a misunderstanding of YEC.

Animals don't evolve. There is exactly zero evidence of evolution (that is, appearance of useful de novo features, much less the ability for an organism to randomly mutate into an entirely different organism), period. (Whether or not you believe a priori in YEC.) "Evolutionism" is in direct contradiction to the laws of thermodynamics / entropy. Evolutionists claim to observe "evolution" because their worldview falls apart otherwise. For a fun project, though, do some digging and see how much "evidence" you can actually turn up that isn't explainable by natural selection, and how many "unsolved" problems exist.

Animals exhibit natural selection according to a pre-existing genetic potential with which they were created, which enables them to adapt to changing environments. As time goes on, however, this information is gradually being lost. The key, however, is that animals cannot "evolve" in any way that wasn't already encoded at Creation.

As Paul notes, carnivory was not part of the original Creation. While it seems that God likely provided for it, it is still dubious to assume that God created any animals to be ideal for humans to raise for meat. Rather, via domestication, we try to squeeze existing animals into that mold (via artificial selection), but we are limited to the genetic potential of animals as they were created.

That all being said, it's worth keeping in mind that modern meat production is just that; modern. Historically, people raised chickens mostly for eggs (and they are actually pretty good at egg production!), and kept cattle and goats for milk and as draft animals. (Sheep I think are still mainly raised for wool.) Slaughtering them for meat was done either out of necessity (because you are starving and don't have a choice), or as a way of making use of an animal that was too old or too injured to continue its original "job". There are a number of factors other than pure efficiency that guide modern meat production. If efficiency was the main concern, we'd probably be eating insects of some sort.

That said, I think your question is also lacking citations. For example, while reptiles may require less calories to grow, I believe they tend to grow much more slowly and are rather "delicate", prone to many health problems unless extreme care is taken in their handling. In fact, if there were animals (other than insects, which have cultural issues) that were "better" for meat production, I would expect that we would be raising those other animals.

Also, extinct animals that young earth creationists believe were with humans have members that have no reason to not just be better than modern animals for domestication. For example, non-avian herbivorous dinosaurs [...]

For starters, those animals are extinct. Importantly, the reason why they are extinct is likely relevant. Many YECs theorize that the planet's climate/environment changed significantly due to the Flood, which may have had significant deleterious effects on those species we now call "dinosaurs". If those species have significant difficulties just surviving, that would make them less-than-ideal for domestication.

That said... there is possible (albeit highly contested) evidence that dinosaurs were domesticated in the past.

Why would rapid speciation be a thing for wild animals and not domestic ones?

This actually deserves, and has, a serious answer... which is that rapid diversification is absolutely a thing among domestic animals. Domestic animals, or even those being selectively bred by humans, do exhibit rapid changes. (Just look at the last 100 years of dog breeding, or the significant changes that have occurred over a similar period in cattle and domestic fowl, or the Russian project to domesticate foxes.) Human artificial selection can actually act faster than natural selection.

The reason we don't see rapid speciation is because humans have this annoying tendency of preventing, and even reversing it. In the wild, speciation occurs when groups of animals become sufficiently separated, either geographically or behaviorally, to stop interbreeding. If dogs were wild animals, Great Danes and Chihuahuas would absolutely be separate species. For that matter, we consider dogs, wolves and coyotes to all be separate species, despite that all three can and do interbreed, and are probably more genetically similar than many breeds of domestic dog. However, we humans are particularly adept at encouraging animals that otherwise would be separate species to interbreed, thus preventing "true" speciation. And then we go and breed animals that are supposed to be different species, like lions and tigers, or horses and donkeys. (Both of which have produced fertile hybrids... and servals crossed with domestic cats are very successful. Really, the whole concept of "speciation" is somewhat problematic, at least if we're trying to assert a difference versus breeds within a species... or kind.)

there is no reason why the domesticated animals humans have should not evolve at hyper speed to more sane for purpose forms

The problem with this assertion is that it presumes to know God's purpose. In fact, this is exactly what we see... if we accept that "more sane for purpose" is according to God's plan, and not ours. Yes, animals were originally created for the benefit of humans, but that plan has been altered twice; first, with the Curse, and second following the Flood. We should particularly look at the Curse, since plants were also originally created for animals, and were subsequently changed to bring forth "thorns and thistles" (Genesis 3:18), which are not for our benefit. It is an act of supreme hubris to believe that we know God's intent behind the potential variability in animals today.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Peter Turner
    Nov 2 '21 at 16:29
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    +1 for taking a shot at it. "Slaughtering them for meat was done either out of necessity" Pretty sure this isn't right. Meat (steak, bacon, burgers, ...) tastes really good. People in the past, as nowadays, raised animals to eat them. Perhaps the grounds for another C.SE. question is why meat tastes so good. Nov 2 '21 at 16:52

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