I'm sure you'd agree with me that any pet owner who doesn't have their cat, dog, whatever put down humanely once they can't move about, eat & drink etc, and instead lets them die of the disease (or, worse, shoves them into some wilderness to let predators, including rats and insects, tuck into the still living, sick, frightened animal) is some kind of monster - well, that's nature. The best most animals can hope for is a quick clean kill by a predator.
That's where I now place us, as humans, and why I eat meat, though I do as vigilantly and meticulously challenge myself to buy from sellers with high animal welfare standards (and support charities like Compassion In World Farming) so it doesn't need to be all or nothing, love animals or not give a damn.
For me, eating meat now isn't about pleasure, per se, it's about health, and when you think of the millions of animals per year that die truly miserable and usually pointless deaths in testing labs as companies seek to come up with new medications to treat obesity-related illnesses, the best animal-welfare act of all is to help move society towards greater health via sound nutrition.
But nature's a cruel thing in itself and a non-botched slaughter in a western slaughterhouse is always still going to be kinder than anything natural life, eg, if humans ceased farming, could deliver.
You might want to look up slaughterhouse protocols yourself, I did, they're not THAT bad, it's the botched slaughters and cruelty that usually stem from an underpaid workforce we still very much need to be active stamping out - ironically, that won't happen if it's just hardcore vegans versus meat freaks who don't give a damn, so if you become a consumer of meat products, you'll be very well placed to REALLY make a differece, through what you buy, and what you discuss with other people.