Approximately 70 billion sentient non-human animals capable of feeling pain and complex social interaction are born and raised in constant pain and very often never see the light of day. These persons are born and raised for their bodies, alive for their deaths. Humans have turned life into a means to an end (literally). They are imprisoned like criminals (in worse conditions), sold and bought like slaves, objectified like many women, taken advantage of like Native Americans, and finally massacred like Jews during the Holocaust. When will we learn from history?
Free-range is an obscure word that holds very little value in the personal lives of livestock. It is not legally regulated, and virtually meaningless. The truth is, the overwhelming majority of animals bred for slaughter are bred and slaughtered in industrial conditions; that is, productivity and profit is the focus of the establishment, while the lives
experienced by the animals taking place are not.
It is simple to say the animals have thrived under human "care" merely because they still exist (and in vast numbers), but keeping one alive has never been the justification for exploitation of an individual or the abuse of their rights-- this is reasonable for any sentient creature who desires to fins solace in security, and companionship of others.
It is unfair, and untrue to claim an economy without animal exploitation is impossible. A fair understanding of economics will only support the counter-claim that an economy would remain relatively stable, regardless of of animal exploitation. As demand of animal products lowers, so will supply (and the alleged unethical means that generally produce the supply). Upon reaching a threshold or becoming aware of trends, companies that currently exploit animals and produce animal products could, and likely would switch to the alternatives that are growing in demand. Money would not vanish from the system, it would not bleed or run dry, it will simply flow in a new way.
In simplest terms, justification ignores the fact that genocide is, in its de notation, a deliberate killing of a large group of people. One must think to themselves if animals can weep, feel, and fear, can they be comparable to "people" ? Many will say no, and these many are ever so parallel to the settler of old, rationalizing the owning of other living beings on their own perspective, ignoring the perspective of the oppressed.
Yes, we are killing many animals , but I think there is a bigger picture here. We control animals populations through controlled breeding and killing them for meat and materials. Thanks to modern technology these animals live far longer than they would in the wild and thanks to more free range conditions their lives are better by miles. Most animals in the wild do not live to die of old age the majority die of disease,predators and many other factors. In the conditions we have set up they are often benefiting by a better longer life. You may argue that we should keep doing this, but simply not kill them, however this is irrational as we haven't the resources to do that. By killing them and selling their body parts we are creating an economic stability which can come back to benefit those all over the world even the animals themselves. The massive economic benefit from meat and other such materials cannot simply be removed even gradually over time. If so the economy would fade even further and the conditions we have set up for these animals would worsen leading eventually to either unacceptable conditions for the livestock or a rehabitisation of the animals into the wild where they would live out horrible lives of disease, earlier death and struggle to keep from starving. Also, to call it genocide would give the implication that we are trying to destroy the population when in fact the system relies on their population being constantly high.