Look, I don’t expect Mark Krikorian to champion the moral worth of non-human animals—hell, getting him to evince some concern for non-Caucasians would be a miracle—but this is unusually silly:
Just so you know, I think we do eat too much meat, and salt, sugar, and fat, because our species evolved to crave these once rare elements of our diet which are now abundant. But vegetarianism and veganism are not only not virtuous, they’re immoral, based as they are on the principle that animals are morally equivalent to humans. Likewise, meat probably should cost more than it does, but not because we need a global-warming tax on it but because animals, while lacking “rights,” are not inanimate objects we can use with impunity as industrial inputs — and their humane treatment will almost certainly raise the price of hamburgers.
I know very many vegetarians and vegans. I do not think a single one of them—possibly excepting PETA’s Bruce Friedrich, and I’m not even sure about him—holds the view that “animals are morally equivalent to humans.” File this under what is fast becoming one of my chief pet peeves: People who purport to specialize in political commentary and show no sign of having even the vaguest idea what people with different views actually believe. (Must I think Radovan Karadzic and my first grade teacher are morally equivalent if I’m not terribly sanguine about barbecuing either of them?) You’d think the view Krikorian himself endorses would be quite sufficient to get one there: If you think animals are at least deserving of humane treatment, then given an actually existing meat industry that manifestly falls well short of that, might you not decide it’s better not to support it at all? More so if you’re not quite as dismissive as Krikorian is of the secondary environmental harms.
Update: Bruce Friedrich chimes in via comments to assure us that he does not, in fact, subscribe to the thesis of moral equivalence between humans and other animals. Let me go out on a limb and suggest that if PETA’s spokesman finds your proposed foundational principle for vegetarianism and veganism implausibly extreme, you may be experiencing a knowing-what-you’re-talking-about deficit.