I just responded to this post on Being is Somethingness. I thought I would share my response here as well because I feel the experience was significant enough to remember it.
I don't have a good answer. I believe we tend to anthropomorphize the animals we commonly view as pets so it seems much more like murder to kill them.
I was backpacking and fishing last weekend and I caught several fish (which I haven’t done in many years). When I was removing the hook from the mouth of one of the fish I noticed it’s eye looking back and forth from my hand, which was struggling to remove the hook, to my face. For a moment I felt real sorrow for killing the fish. I even felt compelled to audibly apologize to it – though I am sure it didn’t understand what I said. I'm not sure that the fish was at all aware of what was happening but seeing its eye looking at me gave me pause.
I love meat and seafood and that won’t stop but I believe it is very healthy to periodically “look into the eyes” of the animals we kill to eat. It wouldn’t hurt to actually take those lives with our own hands if it was feasible. Then we might more fully understand that meat doesn’t grow pre-packaged on a meat tree and that real animals (some with might even pass for a personality) die to give us sustenance.
As for caged veal – I believe it should be illegal. And so should foie gras.