The list of facts and statistics (from http://www.flex.com/~jai/articles/101.html), even if they are accurate (though most probably not) and inspired by author MichaePollan (?), are all quantitative — but what is quantifiable in the world of quantum physics? – I mean, if it amounts to that, we should have all died already, unless of course you are one whose argument is that the majority of us in the ‘rich world’ (as you put it) have been ‘immunized’ by way of vaccinations, multi-vitamins, desensitization from gas (from motor vehicles) or anesthetized (e.g. from tobacco and all its chemical components).
I think many of you vegetarians/Vegans are still missing the point — vegetarians seem to have a tendency only to be (become) radical thinkers – as are ex-smokers and allies non-smokers (and might I add doctrinized Hindus since ’round about 1400s)
A hell lot of money is to be made from the health-food (not to mention yoga) products. (That seems to be the underlying attitude before health, even for the ‘health-conscious’).
Siddhartha Buddha (who came from your country) refrained from eating meat too, at one albeit important phase of his life (Sennsucht), but don’t forget that the outcome of this was the realisation that yogic austerities are not the be all and end all to life (though earthly life should bring us to question a whole lot), but that ‘everything in moderation’ – and to love one oneself and then our neighbours – was and still is the key.
Yes, by all means, refrain from killing your mother (e.g. a cow) and the rest follows naturally. (I’ve also quit smoking and eating beef).
Perhaps those who compiled the Ten Commandments ought to have addumbrated there too.
My suggestion is to all is that we simply meditate on the inscription above the entrance to the temple of Delphi: ‘Know thyself’ – because this is the key.
Look at the big picture – WE are part of the eco-system too. Better to keep a clear conscience: we are all going to die someday, one way or another. (In time the planet itself might ‘meet its maker’ – man-subjected or meteoric destruction?) The real killers are (and this need not be scientifically proven) self-denial, self-deprecation, self-deceit, deceit of others and meanness, disbelief in our own sense of intuition, conceit, depression, dogmatism, sarcasm and cynicism, complaining and procrastination. Peace.