It is obvious that in order to eat meat, an animal had to be slaughtered, but the issues of cruelty go far beyond just the death of an animal. The lives of animals raised to be slaughtered are miserable. Often packed into close quarters, many animals are unable to lie down or turn around, and the hygiene is terrible. Many slaughter methods are imperfect and cause great suffering before death.
Even animals that are not raised for food are poorly treated. Chickens that provide eggs for consumption often spend their entire lives in a cage no bigger than a piece of notebook paper, and dairy cows face abuse and mistreatment in addition to being injected with hormones to facilitate milk production. A person who wishes to live a cruelty-free life chooses to remove him or herself from any participation in this process.