These thoughts came from talking with a friend who lives in a very rural area and hunts (for subsistence) regularly.
My question, very concisely, is: Does the environmental impact of eating plant-based foods ever outweigh the principle of non-harm to animals? A corollary is: does indirect harm outweigh direct harm?
I'm thinking of, for example, the prevalence of monoculture (often non-organic) corn and soy in U.S. foods and the energy and resources required to manufacture and transport those foods. I'm also thinking of transporting food in general.
If a factory (e.g. for milling flour) disrupts an entire ecosystem, why would taking one animal be any worse? If the pollution from transportation degrades the environment, or pesticides kill animals, or monoculture farms destroy habitats, how is killing a single animal to eat worse?
I'd really love to hear some perspectives on this. I understand that not everyone can kill game in their backyard.