Burnie asked a question on the most recent podcast. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like:
"If you couldn't have meat again unless you killed and cleaned it, do you think you'd ever eat meat again?"
Let me dive deeper into this question, because I think it depends on whether or not it's applied to a literal reality or a fictional one.
Scenario 1/2 - Literal Reality
In this scenario we would have to account for the cost of the whole animal. Let's go the cheap route and do the killing and butchering right in the field for large animals. No need to pay someone for labor or facilities. I'm gonna look at the three most common animals we eat: cows, pigs, and chickens.
Price per animal
One Cow - $1,200
Boy is it difficult to nail down how much a cow costs. There are so many different breeds and classifications. Not to mention highly violate cattle markets (I'm not an economics guy at all). But from my limited research, you're looking at a low end of about $1,200 for one whole feeder cow. You could find cheaper prices at an auction or for smaller cows, but this is about the closest I can find for an average.
One Pig - $129
One Chicken - $20?
Okay, I got a little tired of livestock research by this point. A live pullet (young hen) appears to go for around $20. Roosters sell for less, but let's go with hens. And seeing as a whole cut-up chicken at the grocery store can be bought for around $8-$15, twenty bucks for a live one seems reasonable.
With these dollar amounts in mind, I think most meat eaters would be able to continue eating meat. Trouble is, it'd be mostly chicken.
For chicken, it'd be like going to the grocery store. We could do the killing and butchering right in our kitchen. Not to mention that the amount of meat yielded could be consumed within a couple days. So, chicken for everyone!
Pork on the other hand, depending on how much time and disposable income you have, would be a little rarer. At $129 it's not cost-prohibitive, but it's not exactly as easy purchase. That's two video games, two visits to Fogo de Chao, or a handful of all-out trips to the movies for one person. Price-wise, I feel like the average person would have to make some judgement calls on this one. Sure it's affordable, but is it worth that much to you? Keep in mind, you also have to travel to the farm and slaughter it. That's not an easy task. It's time consuming, and requires at least an afternoon of hard labor. Not to mention the additional cost of processing (butcher paper, tape, bags, knives, saws, etc.). Transportation shouldn't be a problem, as long as you have a trunk.
You might be thinking, "But what about the bacon?". Well, yeah there's that. But you would have to make that yourself. Have you ever tried to make bacon? It takes time and effort. And by the time you nail down the process, odds are, you'll have wasted at least one pork belly. You'll also likely need to buy a new small freezer, or at least empty yours out. I estimate most meat eaters will end up taking this route about 3-5 times a year, at most.
Now, the beef? That's a whole other dilemma. It costs a lot, but it's so versatile! It's lot of effort, but it's so much meat! But at $1,200 a pop, the price ain't nothing to scoff at. That's around the average monthly rent in Austin. That's a couple of car payments. It's also a huge commitment. Once again, you'd have to drive out to the farm. But this time, it'd take longer. It'd take more supplies. Possibly a bigger vehicle to transport. It'd also require you to buy a big freezer, to protect your investment. Keep in mind, if you don't have any experience processing a whole cow, your are absolutely going to mangle the various cuts. How many cows will you have to go through before you get even the primal cuts down?
I bet that most people would look at their chicken and pork and think "Nah, I'm good". At least most of the time. It's very doable for a middle class, full-time employed individual. But is there enough motivation? In my opinion, for the average meat eating American, this would be a once a year event at most. If at all. If someone is well-off, maybe they could afford twice a year or more. But I think most of us will have some serious deliberation over whether or not it's worth that much time, effort, and money.
So, yeah, it'd be possible. Easily feasible. But depending on time, money, effort, and desire, some meats might be rarer then others. And personally, I'd do chicken and pork easily, but beef only once a year at most.
Scenario 2/2 - Magic Reality
In this scenario, all you would have to do is kill the animal and process the cuts you want to eat. You would only pay for the price of the cuts you eat or keep, at the appropriate market or restaurant price. No paying for the whole animal, no cost for storage or packaging.
Fuck me up fam. I'll do this in a heartbeat. Even if I have to pay twice to eat it in a restaurant.