Like a lot of folks eating primarily or only plants, I dislike eating animals because I empathize with animals and feel bad about their suffering from raising them for food.
That said, how much of the suffering involved in meat consumption actually comes from the animal whose meat is consumed?
What I'm thinking about is that eating animals is O(10) times less efficient at providing calories than eating plants. This suggests that if more than 0.1 units of suffering (assuming the animal being eaten suffers 1 unit) are produced in the production of plants for food, then the suffering caused by eating meat is dominated not by the suffering of the animal being eaten but by the suffering caused in order to produce the food.
Obviously some of this is going to be hard to pin down. For example, depending on how you weigh the suffering of insects and how much pesticides are used to grow feed stock of the meat being consumed may cause wild swings in estimates, but I'd nonetheless be interested in seeing what models people have of how much suffering is caused. This might also make a suffering-oriented case for better meat choices among those who eat meat anyway. For example, maybe organic beef causes O(100) times less suffering than conventional beef because 100 times fewer insects suffer in its production?
So, any thoughts on this, what I might call the "iceberg" of suffering caused by eating meat?