Regarding the meat eating vs. vegetarian or vegan debate:
Now, I'm going to get a heck of a lot of flames for this, but anyway...
First of all - MDG: like you, I'm against factory farming. I'm not a vegetarian, but I buy free range meat from the markets. Even though the animals still die, while they're still alive they are kept in humane conditions.
MDG and Lars: Considering the high fat content of American meat, I wouldn't be surprised if it was linked to obesity and heart disease. As for cancer, it seems that every "expert" in the world thinks that everything edible either prevents cancer or causes it, and I'm not going to comment on it because of all the conflicting information. However, one thing I do know is that women and girls need to eat about 125g of lean red meat, three times a week, in order to get their recommended requirement of iron. The meat we get in Australia only has around 7-10% fat, so eaten in moderation it doesn't cause obesity.
Why red meat? If you already know about iron, its importance and the difference between heam and non-head iron, you can skip the next paragraph.
Now, it is possible to get iron from vegetables or in tablet form. But you'd have to eat half a kilo (just over a pound) of spinach to get the iron you'd get from a 100g steak. The reason for this is that there are two types of iron, heam and non-heam. Heam iron is much more easily absorbed by the body, and it is mostly found in meat - iron supplements and vegetables have non-heam iron, which is why you need to consume so much more to get the same benefits. If women don't get enough iron, they can end up fatigued, weak and eventually anaemic, which in extreme cases can be life-threatening.
That's what I have to say on this topic. All flames will be used to practise fire-eating.