This post is a bit a tangent from my usual topics - feel free to skip over it. I recently watched the 2014 documentary "Cowspiracy", as well as "If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls" by Paul McCartney. They are both propaganda films and they clearly espouse an ideology (veganism). However, these films don't seek to secretly sell you any commodity, so they are respectable in that sense.
After watching those films, I realized that meat is murder on five different levels:
1) Murder of the planet - The negative effect of the greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture (AA) is greater than that of the entire transportation industry. AA also leads to massive fresh water depletion (for instance, one cow can drink 150 litres of water in a single day). Also the slash and burn clear-cutting of pristine land to raise cattle contributes to species extinction.
2) Murder of the animal - This one is obvious. No matter how humane the slaughter technique used, it must be totally horrifying to the animal. The cruelty to animals while being raised is often comparable to being slowly tortured to death, and it is even considered normal in the AA industry for a sizable percentage of the animals to die before slaughter.
3) Murder of the souls of the people who work in AA - It's a brutal industry, focused on maximization. Being so poor and so without other options to have to sell your labour to the AA industry just to get by is an unfortunate position to be in, but one the wealthy owners in the system appreciate. If there was no unemployed reserve army so large that some of it's member would consider such work it would be for the best.
4) Murder of the people who eat the animal products - The animals are fed an unnatural diet and fatten up at an unnatural rate. This makes the meat more loaded with saturated fats than what our ancestors ate. Selective breeding, hormones, and constantly dished-out antibiotics make animal products available unlike those seen even a generation before. The combination of the massive amounts consumed and the high fat content make for a storm of high cholesterol, heart disease and countless obesity related illnesses such as bad knees. There's a sort of twisted poetic justice in getting sick and dying from eating animals that were cruelly raised.
5) Murder of the poor people who could have eaten the animal feed - The conversion of food energy to meat is very poor. If the food grown for the animals was fed to people directly, a lot of instances of starvation and famine could be alleviated. Here is a quote from Earthsave: "It takes 2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of feedlot beef."
If you become a vegan, are you partaking on a spiritual mission to save the planet?
There are no 'farm animals', only 'farmed animals.'