So lets say you have a cat named Fluffy and a dog named Spot. You love them, right? You are a parent to them and they rely on you for very important things such as food, water, shelter, warmth, love, affection. So what makes that type of relationship different that your relationship say with your hamburger? Lots of people eat hamburgers every day......in fact, millions of people eat hamburgers every day. And those same people have Fluffy and Spot at home and will take care of them every day to the best of their ability.
Lets look at three different hypotheticals. Lets say you stopped at McDonalds and picked up a hamburger to eat on the way home from work. You pull onto your street and you see ahead that your dog, Spot, is laying in the street. He must have gotten out somehow from the side gate and a car came by and accidentally hit him. You'd rush to his aid, right? He is your pet, your child, and you will do everything humanly possible at that moment to save him. Scenario number two. Lets say you're driving down a main street near your home (maybe on your way to get that same hamburger from McDonalds) when, in an instant, you see a random dog get hit by a car on the street. The driver of the car panics and drives away. You'd rush to his aid, right? Even though it's not your pet, you know it is someones pet and besides you feel for the little thing. Scenario number three. Lets say you're at a petting zoo and there is a cow who is one of the show animals. Lets say you and your child are the only ones in the pen and are having your turn petting him. Then instantly the cow looks to be in a lot of pain, is struggling, and then falls over (lets say it's a heart attack). You would rush to his aid, right? You obviously know nothing about cows and how to help one in need, but you'd be genuinely concerned and would rush to get the person in charge to help the cow.
My point is that humans, as a general rule, inherently have it in them to want to help others (especially something as helpless as an animal) when in need. It just feels like the right thing to do to help another living creature in pain or in need. What is the difference in your feelings for your pets than in your for your feelings for a cow? Why would you most likely try in some way to help an animal in need in the situations above, yet you would eat eat the dead flesh of that very same animal? I have a very hard time understanding people who claim to be "animal lovers" and yet continue to eat the dead flesh of animals. Isn't that logic inherently flawed?
As a former meat eater, I can say that I was always conflicted about the topic. I am definitely an animal lover, in fact, some would say an animal fanatic, yet I would intentionally distance myself from what I truly was eating. It was a hamburger, not a cow. It was a filet, not a salmon. It was coq au vin, not a chicken. Then I accidentally came across some disturbing material when reading a book....it described some of the horrors that take place at slaughterhouses, and I found that I could hide no more. What I had been sweeping under the rug for so long was now staring me straight in the eye. I could no longer be the hypocrite that I was.....I had to make a change. And I did. It's as simple as that. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. All change start somewhere.