With a somewhat guilty mind, I eat meat but I'm all for improving the lot of animals. We know better now and have the means to treat them well while they are alive and the technology to make their slaughter as dignified and pain free as possible.
Unfortunately this won't be the norm until it is mandated by law. The other day I saw a truck and trailer going down the freeway at 60 mph and it was loaded to the gills with thousands of live chickens who were in open air cages and squashed down, one on top of the other to the point that they couldn't even move. The ones on the outside were being buffeted by the wind. Why is this still going on ?? Because it's the cheapest way to do it and until it's illegal, it will keep happening.
I see people posting their hunting photos on Facebook of their little boys and girls standing on the body of and elk or deer they've just killed. I get it but it somehow it bothers me to see a guy wearing $500 worth of gear, gleefully holding up the head of a dead animal by its horns as if they are mighty hunters, even though they rode to the hunt in a carpeted air conditioned vehicle with a stereo and heated leather seats and found the animal using GPS. From the comments people are making on their posts, it seems this is more about their egos and about having fun rather than feeding their families.
In terms of eating meat, in the days when hunting wasn't done for fun but was a necessity, was hard work and meat was hard to come by, rather than eating a huge slab of it in one sitting, they often used meat as a garnish. If we did the same, we'd probably be healthier and there'd be less animals killed.
It's my understanding that the Native Americans were big on respecting the life of the animals they consumed. I like the idea behind the biblical regulations given to the Israelites, regulating the way they handled the blood of the animals they slaughtered. This process slowed them down and made them stop to remember that that they just took the life of a living thing and it wasn't to be taken lightly.
I saw a documentary on Cambodia last week and it showed an open air market where a woman was squatted down in front of a tub of the huge bull frogs and she was efficiently ripping the skins off them live one by one and throwing them into a tub. They were hundreds of them in there, bloody and crawling all over each other and trying to hop out of the basin.
Humans can become quite calloused and I'd rather live in a country where the welfare of animals is a matter of law. This new law in the UK may not be perfect but maybe it's a move toward improving things for animals.