Stuart, you're clever and intelligent, and your libetarian philosophy is both well-grounded and useful, but when it comes to the meat industry, what is it that you're defending?
Are you defending forcibly herding terrified cows into a slaughterhouse, where poorly-paid, brutal workers prod them with hooks or electric prods or clubs into holding pens as the blood of other cows hangs in the air? those cows unable to march up the ramps to their death, the so-called downer cows, crippled by broken bones or disease, are left to suffer untreated in the lots, sometimes overnight; sometimes their left behind altogether. Do you defend this sort of brutality?
It gets worse. The terrified cows are stunned by overworked workers who must process animals as quickly as they can, so the stunning is done quick & dirty, meaning that it's not always done well. The stunned animal, unconscious, semiconscious, or fully conscious, is then hoisted upside-down as it has its throat slit. The blood pours out of the neck, the body is then slit down the belly as the guts fall to the floor -- it this nightmarish enough for you yet?
Do you support the practice of taking baby cows away from their mothers and cramming them into small darkened stalls not much bigger than their bodies in order to produce the anemic white flesh known as "milk-fed" veal.
Do you support cramming three or four chickens into wire cages so small that they can't even stretch their wings, with wire mesh floors to stand on, to maximize the number of eggs produced? Have you seen what these birds look like before they die -- emaciated, full of sores, their feet gnarled and twisted, their beaks cut off to prevent pecking in such close quarters?
Do you support the practice of throwing out living male chicks into huge trash bins? That's what they do to the male chicks of the egg-breeding variety -- no eggs, no value for the egg factories.
Do you support the chaining of pigs -- often cited as more intelligent than dogs -- into small farrowing stalls where they are repeatedly artificially inseminated and turned into piglet factories? Or keeping these highly intelligent, social animals in small filthy stalls for months until they go thru the same slaughterhouse hell that cows do? If this happened to dogs, people would scream for it to end; so why not care about the more intelligent pigs?
Do you support the transportation of cows and pigs and horses and sheep and goats and chickens and turkeys in overcrowded trucks or railcars or ships for hundreds or thousands of miles, without food or water? This is how the meat industry works.
Imagine all these things happening to living, feeling animals, and ask yourself how you can support such horror. You wonder why vegetarians such as myself are so serious and vocal about the meat industry, well there's your answer. If you don't care about animals, then consider yourself fortunate in a strange sort of way. If you do care, even in the least, then show it. Don't support the torture of animals. Go vegetarian.
If you want a better world, act like it.