As for me, I'm way undereducated about livestock and their various plights in general, but mostly what I hear is that far too many (actually a single case would constitute far too many) farms treat their livestock horribly. Shame be upon any farmer who won't let his practices be filmed/photographed, and shut him down, I say.
On a moral level, I dislike being a meat-eater. On a realistic level, I'm still too addicted to meat to give it up (especially when friends and family serve it to me). I'd feel much better if at least we only ate the non-human people who'd died of natural causes. And if we think we must kill them ourselves, I do believe we need to improve our killing methods so as to make them "even" less traumatic for the non-human people we kill.
Why oh why can't restaurants and fast-food joints expand the vegetarian part of their menus? It'd help me (and so many non-human people) sooo much.
I'm okay with genetic tampering as long as it doesn't mean a low-quality life for the resulting organism. For example, if someone's tweaking chickens' genes so as to produce a bird so meat-packed that it can't even stand up, then that's absolutely unconscionable.
I'm okay with harvesting eggs, milk, and wool. I don't think the livestock mind all that much. I don't mind non-human people pulling plows and stuff as long as they're treated decently. I don't mind humans saddling, bridling, and riding horses as long as the horses are treated decently.
Decent treatment of livestock involves lots of big and little things in my mind. Knowledge of each species' general wants and needs and the expert/sensible/compassionate application of that knowledge. Allowing them lots of ground to roam about on (especially horses who need/want to gallop). Plenty of clean ground to walk and sleep on, at all times. (Keeping pigs/cows in a pen with little or no ground clean of ankle-to-knee-deep fecal matter is disgraceful.) Medical attention. Good quality food and a decent supply of it. Reasonably clean water and a decent supply of it. Salt licks for cows. Special treats from time to time. Affectionate human touch (e.g. brushing a horse with those steely horse brushes). Adequate shelter; warm, heated shelter for cold weather. Freedom to wander outdoors at will. (I admit that contradicts what I recommend for many/most housepets.) The company of other livestock (especially of like species). And on and on; there's so many things, probably most of which elude me at the moment.
I think I'm okay with spaying/neutering, but only with an anesthetic. Slicing off a calf's balls with no tools except a giant set of clippers is wrong of humans to do, even though I'm sure virtually all farmers take the practice for granted. It's barbaric. We must at least anesthetize the poor bastards.
Livestock are probably better-suited for mostly-outdoor life than are many/most housecats and dogs (especially city-dwelling housecats and dogs). The exotic tradition of letting a bull waltz freely through a china shop seems illogical/inappropriate (even if it be religiously correct).
Livestock (horses in particular come to mind) might fare better at adapting themselves to life in the wilds than most housepets. So, I'm not terribly opposed to the idea of setting livestock free, but I'm also not terribly opposed to the idea of keeping them domestic. Guess you could say I'm somewhat neutral on that issue per se?
If we do set them (completely) loose into the wilds, though, I don't think we humans have the needed instincts/knowledge for conditioning them for life in the wilds. I fear we'd just have to turn them loose and pray to Gaia to keep them safe or at least grace them with a quick and mostly painless death. Naturally I'd also be glad to feed/water them whenever they came my way, provided I had food and water on hand for them.
Well that's some of my opinions. More can no doubt be drawn out of me by asking questions and posting comments. I'm interested to hear what lots or all of you think about it.
And so ... we've now threads covering everything from pets
to livestock to wildlife
. We've basically covered every living thing (even plants to some extent) on Earth, right? except humans ... Oh wait, we've got already threads relating to the care and feeding of humans spread all over these boards.