Posted from the US
I recently saw the HBO Film "Death on a Factory Farm" ( http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/deathfactoryfarm/index.html) - and I have not been able to sleep well since.
I have been a vegetarian since I was a kid, essentially because I always believed that there was something morally and ethically wrong for humans, in this day and age, to eat meat. The film reconfirms every horrible notion and reality about what really seems to be a fundamental evil.
Meat - bacon, ham, burgers, steaks, ribs, chicken, fish - there is no doubt that it tastes really good. Billions of people love meat - the notion of not eating meat does not compute. However.
Most people block from their minds where the meat came from (it's in a box on a bun, or in a hot dog pack at the supermarket). Most people do not realize what happens so that they can get their meat. Yes, someone else does bad things so I can get my meat, but damn it tastes sooo good. This group may be bothered by killing other creatures - but if they don't see it, it's ok.
A smaller minority actually kill for their meat - they fully realize what they are doing and understand what has to happen so that they can eat their yummy meat. On one level this group is at least more consistent and honest - but on another they scare the crap out of me. Not being bothered by killing is a problem - humans should be greatly disturbed by the act of killing anything.
In all cases a major problem is the concept of a creature who is there to die for you to eat it. A living creature as property with no to minimal rights. The assumption is that our ambitions, our fleeting sense of hunger, and overall sense of superiority over all life somehow allows us to do anything we want to other forms of life. This same thinking is found in human interactions - where one religion, race, sex, etc. feels that because it is superior somehow, that it now has a free license to use and abuse. This notion of use and abuse permeates the film, and the most disturbing aspect is how many people felt that they were doing nothing wrong.
In most religions and philosophies of life, there is the concept of achieving a higher state of being, of an expanded spiritual view - and a view that there is something inside. The view of Decartes that animals are machines with no feelings and no intrinsic value still widely persists today - and often it is compartmentalized - I love my dog, but cows are food.
I do believe that one day most, if not all, of humanity will wake up and realize what horrible things we have done, and continue to do, to other living creatures. The extent and magnitude of the horrors we have committed is almost beyond calculation, to billions and billions of living, sentient creatures.
I can not explain this divide, of those who get it and are extremely disturbed, and those who do not. It is a great divide - and many who do not get it can otherwise be warm, caring, and extremely nice people. And those who do can sometimes be terrible humans in many other regards. But in watching this film, in watching extreme abuse in action, the divide becomes clear.
I am always very accommodating and cordial when I eat with others who eat meat - I do not impose my views on them and generally do not push the issue. Is this wrong? Is meat murder? How and when will the world as a whole come to see, as it has slowly come to see other past evils, that this is yet another evil to one day abolish?