I think that it is important to respect the lives of the animals we eat. They should be raised as humanely as possible, and slaughtered with a minimum of pain and fear. That is not to say that I reject the incredible advances in food production. I love the fact that we spend much less on food then at any other time in history. And that is a tremendous advantage. Not as much to us first-world folk, but to the poor across the world, who have access to food at prices that were just dreams even a few years ago. People on the margins are alive because of our incredibly efficient food production. Can we do better? Of course. Water conservation, runoff of fertilizer and waste, loss of topsoil, and many other problems have yet to be solved. But I will happily tolerate less-than-perfect living conditions of our food animals if it means that even one human being will not starve.
And I draw the line at respecting the dignity of plants. I just don’t care that a corn plant has been violated, its genetic essence destroyed in a cold-blooded attempt at growing more of the stuff at lower cost. Slaughter every broccoli plant on the planet (that actually happens every year!) and I will sleep peacefully.