On the psychology of eating meat and the meat paradox:
One question examined in the psychology of eating meat has been termed the meat paradox: how can individuals care about animals, but also eat them? Internal dissonance can be created if people's beliefs and emotions about animal treatment do not match their eating behavior, although it may not always be subjectively perceived as a conflict. This apparent conflict associated with a near-universal dietary practice provides a useful case study for investigating the ways people may change their moral thinking to minimize discomfort associated with ethical conflicts.
The dissonance that arises out of the meat paradox generates a negative interpersonal state, which then motivates an individual to find the means to alleviate it. Recent studies in this area suggest that people can facilitate their practices of meat eating by attributing lower intelligence and capacity for suffering to meat animals, by thinking of these animals as more dissimilar to humans, by caring less about animal welfare and social inequality, and by dissociating meat products from the animals they come from.
How do we make sense of the meat paradox? How do we resolve it?
At Futilitarian's behest, I append my own thoughts on the question.
We care about animals — I haven't seen anyone strike/kill an animal for fun. Some of us have even started animal rights organizations like RSPCA and PETA.
We do not care about animals — We have abattoirs at scales that are inhumane even to the most hardened souls out there.
This is essentially what the meat paradox is. So, do we care about animals or not?
Addendum: The Jains, if reports are accurate, are not just vegan, but selective vegan or, as I like to call them, super vegan — they don't eat seeds (that would be eating plant fetuses), and they don't eat root plants (eating roots means killing the plants).