No one else seems to use the argument I use, which I find is quite persuasive. Basically, I look at meat consumption metaphorically in (stock) market terms: its a massive "position" that mankind had taken, and you just can't dump this position back into the market all at once or you'll create a lot of disruption and instability. "Dumping the meat position" is the key part of the metaphor. What I mean by that is that we can't all stop eating meat tomorrow because there are millions of domesticated animals dependent on our care, living in a humongous factory system that requires vast amounts of power and human effort to manage -- shutting that off overnight would cause environmetal breakdown and untold misery for both animals and humans alike. Where will all the cows and pigs and chickens go to live? If we keep them alive in farms but dont eat them, their children would become an ever-increasing burden on humanity. So, what do we do - sterilize them? The ethical questions alone are overwhelming, but the impact on our economy would clearly be devastating.
No...we have to "unroll the position" carefully, just like you do with a massive stock postion. Sell off a little here and there till the market begins to stabilize, then increase the sell-off...you may have to buy some back along the way to keep the market balanced. I see meat consumption the same way. Vegans are the vanguard...we need them -- they're the first wave of "sell-off". Behind them comes the meat-once-a-week crowd, the folks that the article is talking about (I'm in this group...and I'm a Buddhist). The fact that this trend exists is evidence that my metaphor has some validity! The "long tail" will be populated by die-hard meat eaters who will support a long-lived small-scale meat industry. By then, meat will be a gourmet food item, a fringe market, expensive and exclusive. That situation almost guarantees that the animals will be well-cared for. Eventually, that too will fade away.