In the great vegan vs. non-vegan environmental debate a big point of contention is the topic of animal feed. Vegans argue that a large percentage of agriculture should be attributed to cattle farming. For instance, 98% of soybean meal is used for animal feed. On the other hand, 88% of soybean oil is produced for people -- not animals -- while the rest is used for biofuel (source). Animal feed, it is argued, is a waste product -- without animals it would simply be discarded.
So my question is: Would reducing meat consumption put a dent in soy production, or is animal feed mostly a waste material and not the main motivation when it comes to soy cultivation? Would producing soy solely for biofuel and cooking oil be profitable, without the added benefit of selling the waste products?
If there were less animals, are there other applications for the soy byproducts? I can think of one -- addition to mushroom substrate, where soybean husks are used with great success.