I've slowly been plugging away at my evening readings of Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals," and I am extremely enjoying the experience, even though he sheds some pretty bright light on some very uncomfortable subjects.
The following are quotes from a letter written by a vegetarian cattle rancher (for Niman Ranch):
"Factory farming is the last system you'd create if you cared about sustainably feeding people over the long term... Their prices are artificially low-- what doesn't show up at the cash register is paid for over years and by everyone."
"I have a lot of vegan friends and acquintances, some of whom are connected with PETA or Farm Sanctuary, and many of them assume that eventually humanity will solve the factory-farming problem by getting people to quit eating animals. I disagree. At least, not in our lifetime. If that were possible, I think it would be many generations from now. So in the interim, something else has to happen to address the intense suffering caused by factory farms. Alternatives need to be advocated for and supported."
"...We're awaking to the irony of seeking out shampoo that's not tested on animals while at the same time (and many times a day) buying meat that's produced in profoundly cruel systems."
The following are quotes taken from another letter published in "Eating Animals," admittedly written by a PETA employee. Now this, I think, should be very persuasive even for those among us who just don't think about the subject much or who don't care incredibly much about the welfare of animals or the environment compared to the burdens at home and at work:
"... there is no ethical difference between eating meat and throwing vast quantities of food in the trash, since the animals we eat can only turn a small fraction of the food that is fed to them into meat calories-- it takes six to twenty-six calories fed to an animal to produce just one calorie of animal flesh." (my emphasis)
And this, I think, is the most important point that we should take away from all that has been shown so far: "But it's not enough only to know what's right and wrong; action is the other, and more important, half of moral understanding."