Did you see the SBS Insight show on The Ethics of Eating Meat? You can WATCH IT HERE if you like. I have not watched it yet, but I am going to talk about the subject anyway. I was on the show and I have no desire to see myself on National Television and as such have not watched it yet....
ethic -plural of eth·ics (Noun)
1. Moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.
2. The moral correctness of specified conduct.
Firstly, I should state that I eat meat. I always have and I can't see myself stopping at any point in the future. I believe that growing sheep and beef on good grazing land is the most efficient way to convert the protein from the pasture that we cannot eat into a protein that we can.
Given the majority of the population eats meat, and given the above definition of the word 'ethics' I believe there is nothing wrong with enjoying meat in your diet.
Not all meat is created equal, but it all has it's use.
What is culturally acceptable in some countries is not considered normal here, but that does not make it unethical in those cultures. Is it right (or ethical) to discriminate against a whole culture for it's beliefs in regards to what it is ethical to eat? I don't think so. Make a personal choice, but remember that others may feel differently.
We grow our own meat here, both beef and lamb. The sheep we have are meat sheep which are a breed that shed their wool (or hair) and as such do not require shearing, mulsing or crutching.
We slaughter, butcher and package here. What could be more ethical? No transport, no stress, no carbon footprint. Not organic, but carefully managed. I should mention that I admire anyone who can make a go of organic livestock production, but that it is not for me. I believe that organic is not always better. I would give my sick child antibiotics to ease their pain and illness, and I would do the same for my animals when needed.
I wouldn't eat just anything, but can I judge those that would?
The only times I would consider the act of eating meat to be less than ethical would be if the animal was not treated well during it's life or not slaughtered in a humane way. This also means different things to many people. Having been inside around 45 Australian Abattoirs I am glad we have high standards here and I am very glad that Australian farmers are great advocates for animal welfare. Trust me on that, our animals in many cases are our income, or our ability to feed our family. Also, I would not eat something endangered, I don't want to be part of a species disappearing.
Edit: I should have said a big thank you to SBS Insight for the opportunity to be on the show. It was a wonderful experience and we all enjoyed it a lot. SBS was wonderful in organising the flights, motel, taxi tabs and someone to look after the children while we were on air. Thank you :)