One of the most popular and strongest arguments for veganism is what I would call the 'animal cruelty' argument, namely, that non-vegan diets--including vegetarian ones that tolerate dairy and egg consumption--promote a food industry that inflicts tremendous suffering on animals such as chickens, cows and pigs, which are perpetually raised and killed by the millions in factory farms, in order to meet the demands of an insatiable non-vegan population.
For example, this site summarizes the argument as follows:
Going vegan is one of the best things you can do to help stop animal cruelty. By refusing to pay for animal products, you reduce the demand for them, which ensures fewer animals are bred to suffer and die on farms and in slaughterhouses.
Alex O'Connor, popularly known for his YouTube Channel CosmicSkeptic, published a video clip of an interview titled "I Like How it Sounds to Kill Dogs" | Veganism Explained that makes a great use of the rhetorical device of analogy to get the point across in a different way. Below the transcript:
The person who is paying for animal products is implicitly accepting the ideology that is morally permissible to kill an animal because of the way it tastes. Not everybody does, but the vast, VAST majority of people who do that are doing it for taste pleasure. If you are doing that, then what you are doing is you are paying for an animal to be tortured for the appeasement of your sense pleasure. Just to make this easier to understand how it feels like to be told that I shouldn't be telling people not to do that, just swap out the variables, take a different sense pleasure. I'll take a different non-human animal. Let's say somebody was killing dogs or paying for someone to torture dogs and put them into a gas chamber because they really like the way that it sounded when the dog squealed. Like I'm gonna pay you to put a dog into a gas chamber because I just love the way that it sounds. You don't understand it. It sounds so amazing to me when they squeal for their life and desperately try to escape, right? You would think that I am the most disgusting human being you'd ever come across. But that is exactly what we are doing when we justify the torture of a pig because of the appeasement of our taste pleasure. But because it's become so normalized, we don't even see it as a choice. We don't even see it as us making a decision or making an action, because it's just buying a burger, right? It's not buying a burger. It's demanding with your money, economically speaking, for an animal to be forced into a gas chamber to have its throat cut, to have its child separated from its mother, right? And so people call me extreme for wanting this to end? If you want extremity, look no further than what we're doing to animals.
Intuitively, I think the argument seems to make sense: if there are alternative meal plans that are equally or more healthy than a normal meat-based diet that also avoid causing unnecessary suffering to animals, and given that Christianity's most exalted virtue is love (for God and others), then I see no obvious reason for a Christian not to go vegan out of love for animals.
What is an overview of Christian viewpoints on the 'animal cruelty' argument for veganism? Is this a compelling or at least reasonable argument for most Christians? To what extent do born-again Christians have ethical responsibilities toward animals, and if they have any, do these ethical responsibilities have any bearing on the way Christians are to eat?