Really nicely said. OP - listen up. This is someone who gets it. I sincerely hope you get it some day too.I have a fair few of my family who are vegan, but I think there are some things to consider.
In my opinion, the only way of eating that is not fraught with contradictions is that of the meat eater, and particularly the hunter who kills and eats his/her own food. If a life is sacred, whatever the size of the animal, those who subsist mainly on cereal crops are indirectly responsible for millions of deaths, of insects, or rodents via rodenticides and being chopped to bits during harvest, animals trapped in wire mesh surrounding fields etc etc.
In fact, I may eat the equivalent of 3 large animals per year, who knows, by eating no commodity crops at all, I am relatively free of guilt for the deaths of all those smaller animals.
I was listening to a podcast the other week, can't remember who, maybe Robb Wolf, but they recounted something which had a profound affect on me. They recalled a statement by some scientist or archeologist from a few years back who said....
"Vegans are the first group of people to deny man's place in nature"
I found it profound because we are part of nature, we have been for millions of years, and we are part of the food chain, at the top. That is nature, it is undeniable.
We do however, have the ability in the modern world to make choices about that. But denying yourself meat because you think that not eating it will make you free of responsibility for mass carnage in the animal world is denying the reality that millions of small animals, and larger ones too, as well as human beings on slave wages and poisoned by pesticides, die every year to produce wheat, soy beans, etc etc, at the hands of some of the biggest agri-business companies in the world.
I agree that the source of meat, and the life it has lived, should be considered, we should respect the lives that are lost for us to eat. I am on the verge of getting another air gun so I can hunt rabbit and pigeon. Find a local farm that will allow you to kill a few cockerels, or get into a share scheme with some locals for a beast or lamb etc.
Those are just a few random views that erupted as I typed.