I don't eat animals for various reasons (which I won't go into here) but I don't kid myself that I'm saving anyone from suffering. Let's say that a wordwide epiphany occurs tomorrow and everyone turns vegetarian. All the chickens are released. Here's my mad vision of what would happen: for about a week there would be a heck of a lot of happy wolves, jackals coyotes and dogs, then no more chickens, except for the ones people decide to keep as pets. Cows? Not sure, except they don't do all that well in the wild. Cows who have escaped from killing fields usually wander off into someone else's yard to ruminate. Pigs: wild pigs are dangerous. I used to camp in the Smokies and those bristlebacks will attack a human. Not that I blame them. I wouldn't want to contemplate the vengeance millions of freed swine would wreak on humanity.
Animals in the wild live horrible lives; everything in nature is busy killing and eating each other, there are very few exceptions.In fact, I can't think of any. If an animal doesn't die from being devoured, it usually dies from painful accident or disease. The average life expectancy of a feral cat, for example, is maybe
two years. I used to volunteer with a local group that went to feral cat colonies, capture the little beasts to spay and neuter them, and re-release them. We also brought them food in the winter. They live hard lives. Anyone who abandons a cat should be turned loose naked in the mountains for a month to forage on his/her own and see how they like it.
Why do I bring this up? Because even if we shut down the horrible factory farms there is no escape from suffering. For any of us. And animals have it especially bad, except my cat who thinks she's living in the deva realm. Let's not, as vegetarians, pat ourselves on the back and think we're saviors. All we've done is make a decision not to intentionally eat animals. That's all. Doesn't make us better or worse than omnivores. When I was the moderator for the Veggie Forum over at pitiful remains of E-Sangha, that forum was a hornet's nest. Talk about suffering. I believe I cleansed my karma for a kalpa.
I'll close with the following. About once every couple of months I'll break my veggie ways and eat a cheeseburger, because I have this superstitious belief that every time I do so, a self-righteous angry vegan chokes to death on their tofu.
You KNOW you're glad I'm back