Grist.org pointed me in the direction of this intriguing Guardian editorial from George Monbiot. In 2002, he wrote, "veganism is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world's most urgent social justice issue." He has since changed his tune, thanks to Meat: A Benign Extravagance, a new book by Simon Fairlie. From Monbiot:
The meat-producing system Fairlie advocates differs sharply from the one now practised in the rich world: low energy, low waste, just, diverse, small-scale. But if we were to adopt it, we could eat meat, milk and eggs (albeit much less) with a clean conscience. By keeping out of the debate over how livestock should be kept, those of us who have advocated veganism have allowed the champions of cruel, destructive, famine-inducing meat farming to prevail. It's time we got stuck in.
Its an interesting read for those on either side of the debate, and made me very anxious to get my hands on Fairlie's book.